Late at Lane Attendance Drops after Staff Cancels Dances
Late at Lane began in September 2012 as an initiative to to provide Frostburg State University students with a safer alternative to house parties and to have more diverse activities for students.
“The point of Late at Lane was to provide students with a safer alternative to house parties and excessive binge drinking that could result in violence or people being hospitalized for alcohol reasons,” said Jasmine Branch, Vice President of Retention, Operations and Finance for FSU’s University Programming Council. “Our challenge is getting people in the door and getting them to stay.”
After Late at Lane attendance peaked in September 2014 with an attendance of 1,562, there has been a noticeable decline in Late at Lane attendance. Around the time fall 2015 semester began Late at Lane joined forces with the University Programming Council (UPC) and the Cultural Event Series (CES) in an effort to bring FSU “bigger and better things.”
Although attendance elevated for October’s Lane Asylum theme, it was still the lowest attendance for an October Late at Lane in the past four years. The last Late at Lane this semester, held in November, had only 748 people in attendance.
It’s unclear why attendance dropped from Fall 2014 to Spring 2015, but some say that the continued attendance decrease in Fall 2015 is due to the cancellation of the dance parties in the Alice R. Manicur Hall (ARMAH).
Robert Cooper, Director of Student Activities and Greek life, said that the continued decline in attendance is related to the cancellation of dances.
However, he explained that the dances were cancelled because of safety concerns arising from poor student behavior.
At UPC’s first open meeting in Fall 2015, Black Student Alliance president Shaniya Johnson asked “Why did you guys stop having parties?”
“We cannot have events just to cater to certain types of people who only want to listen to certain types of music,” Cooper answered.
Many students were confused and somewhat offended by the use of the term “certain types of people.”
Branch said, “I think the way he phrased his statement may have rubbed people the wrong way. His point was that we can’t have events or parties that only target one group of students here at FSU. Whenever we hold programs or events it’s for the entire FSU campus.”
Dominique Elias, who transferred to FSU in 2014, said “Maybe if the parties had more diversity in the music, culturally it would help bring a more diverse crowd in the door.”
Gabrielle Cousino, President of UPC board, said, “I believe the meeting was very eye opening. Talking to all the other student organizations really helped me see the need for dances and understanding why people enjoy them so much. I was also able to voice my concerns in an environment that I knew would be safe for my opinions.”
This semester Late at Lane tried a lot of new things including different food and different activities. The ARMAH has been transformed into a roller skating rink, as well as a bumper cars arena.
“I look at success as program design, peoples excitement, assessment cards, and I look at numbers,” Cooper said. “Numbers help a little bit but it’s not the main factor. I am pleased at what we have accomplished.”
The second UPC open meeting invited all organizations to attend but many of them did not show up.
Representatives from the Black Student Alliance, Student Government Association, and Phi Beta Sigma fraternity were present. Many of the minority organizations feel strongly that their events are treated differently than those hosted by white students.
“Minorities are always treated differently when it comes to events at Frostburg,” said Zawe Magoba, member of the African Student Association (ASA) and Paparazzi Perfect modeling team at FSU. “All of a sudden things become risky, but it does not have to be that way if the environment is properly controlled.”
However, incidents have occurred despite the event having increased security and university police officers present.
“Any race is liable to fight or cause issues,” Magoba said. “Minorities are always blamed for these types of issues.”
Though Frostburg State University is a predominantly white institution over the years the minority rate has been increasing. With more than 50 percent of the fall 2015 freshman class being minority, UPC may face more pressure to create events that cater to a more diverse audience.
UPC/Late at Lane continues to stand by their notion that Late at Lane is for all students, regardless of race.
“UPC has a total of 5 white students,” said Cousino. Going off of that, we plan events for ALL groups of students. To hear that really hurt not only me but all of UPC for the simple fact that we do actually plan events for all different groups, but it’s a matter of having every group present at said events. We care about students; we don’t plan events by race. Yes, we know which events will cater to certain groups more but we never sit down and say on purpose that we won’t plan this event because it caters to this group. We care about all students. All groups of students.”
Late at Lane is still “safe, vibrant and ever-changing” said Cooper. There are three Late at Lanes scheduled for the spring semester: A New Year’s State of Mind which will have a dance component; Game On in which the Lane center will be completed revamped into a game center; and Wild Wild West.