In their April 7 editorial, The Daily Pennsylvanian Editorial Board called on the Social Planning and Events Committee to take concerns about sexual violence seriously, and improve our vetting processes in concert with that. We do, and we will.
SPEC is a multifaceted organization whose nine branches plan dozens of events each year, including the Spring Fling concert. As a whole, SPEC always makes an effort to highlight marginalized voices and provide a safe environment for students to take part in. Our commitment to Penn’s diverse community can be evidenced by our past events, including a discussion with Laverne Cox, a comedy night with Hasan Minhaj, a concert with Tierra Whack, and screenings of films such as "Black Panther." We are disheartened that our efforts to select an artist who represents various underrepresented groups and a style of music not often featured at the Spring Fling concert fell short.
SPEC Concerts’ artist vetting process failed to catch the allegation made against Miguel in 2017. For that, we deeply apologize. As soon as students made us aware of the situation, we initiated a meeting to hear their concerns. There have since been ongoing discussions about how to ensure that the Spring Fling Concert remains a safe space. The weekend as a whole can often create troubling interactions and dynamics for students. As such, students should know that Penn Women’s Center is hosting a “Fling Check-In” on Friday from 12 - 1:30 p.m. for members of the community to discuss Miguel or any other topic related to Spring Fling they would like.
When asked specifically by the DP if we regretted this booking, we found it a challenging question to answer. At the time of booking, we made a choice that we thought satisfied a lot of our criteria and the interest of Penn students. With the discovery of the allegations against Miguel, we were disappointed to think that we let our peers down, but also found it important to still support all of those involved in the planning of this event. “Regret” does not feel like the right word to describe the very complex situation in which we find ourselves.
To that end, we want to be clear that we are sorry for missing this information. We intend to do better, and have already made changes to the process we use to gather information for our artist briefings moving forward.
We want to emphasize that we are your peers, we are in this together, and our processes are only made stronger by the different voices and opinions we have within our organization. Every student is encouraged to be a part of our SPEC community. There are no applications required for our nine committees, and members of the student body are free to join at any point during their time at Penn.
Collectively, our goal is to produce a safe and enjoyable Fling. We understand that some of our peers will not attend the concert because of their concerns about Miguel, while other students will attend, eager to experience the tradition of the Spring Fling concert. The SPEC Concerts Committee and directors have worked tirelessly for months planning this event. We work incredibly hard to ensure that all of our events are safe, and we know they are much less risky than other unofficial events occurring during Fling weekend, so we hope to see you there. If not, please stay engaged in this conversation with us about how we can continue to improve.
Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org at any time with feedback. Thank you.