The Student Assembly voted to approve a $400,000 budget increase for the Slope Day Programming Board on Thursday, Sept. 21. This more than doubles the group’s budget from $315,000 to $715,000 for the 2023-24 school year.
“The Student Assembly is committed to give the people what they want: what the people want is more Slope Day,” Student Assembly President Patrick Kuehl ’24 wrote in a press statement.
In the post-COVID world, a drastic price increase for talent has left the programming board struggling to pay artists in high demand, the release stated. The Slope Day Programming Board Vice President of Finance additionally noted 75 percent of their budget went to programming costs such as staging, setup and non-artist-related costs, the statement said.
Last year’s Slope Day featured indie rock band COIN with EDM duo Snakehips and hip-hop duo Coco and Clair Clair as opening acts. The announcement generated mixed reactions from students who were disappointed in the headliners, as well as a comment from Corey Ryan Earle ’09 — a lecturer in the American studies department who specializes in the history of Cornell — comparing 2023’s Slope Day lineup to other lineups in the last 20 years.
“Every year, Cornell students like to complain about the Slope Day performers when the lineup is announced. The vitriol seems especially strong this year, so I checked the data to see if this year’s lineup is different,” Earle said in a thread on X, formerly known as Twitter. “[2023’s] Slope Day lineup objectively has less star power than any other in the past twenty years. Since 2004, this is only the second year [with 2017 being the other one] that no performer has had a Billboard Hot 100 hit.”
With the budget increase, Kuehl hopes to bring back high-quality Slope Day acts that students and the Cornell community will know and enjoy.
“A goal of the Student Assembly this year is to give students what they want, and there is a lot of discontent with the Slope Day performers last year as well as the event at large,” Kuehl said. “Slope Day has been struggling due to increase in prices for artists and other goods and services [the SDPB uses because of] post-pandemic inflation, and we figured again that we wanted to give students what they want. That is always our goal, so we thought it would be a great allocation of funds to have a great event this year.”
Kuehl also said the budget increase is effective immediately and the money will be available to the Slope Day Programming Board for May’s upcoming Slope Day. The additional funding comes from a reserve account of the Student Activity Funding Commission, a body responsible for allocating a portion of the undergraduate student activity fee, which all students pay to the University. The Commission allocates over $1.5 million to various student organizations.
“The funding has already been transferred to our reserve account and will be transferred to [the Slope Day Programming Board’s] account soon,” Kuehl said. “Definitely, of course, before Slope Day happens.”