Letter to the Editor: "Somebody Call 911 - Seriously"

TW: Rape 

To say I have been disappointed is an understatement. Sean Kingston, an artist announced for the UCONNIC Music Festival, hosted by Tier III organization, SUBOG, received much excitement from the student body online. From what it appeared, it received more positive praise than from the announcement of headliner Lil Baby. I will admit, I was stoked as well because as a fellow early-2000’s teen, “Fire Burning” was a bop. Once the excitement settled and reality came in, I felt the uncomfortable memory of an old news story of this singer and his past with sexual assault. You see, Sean Kingston was accused of getting a 19-year-old woman drunk, and then sexually assaulting her with his bodyguard and a member of his band. Like too many of these situations, this was settled out of court to avoid bringing too much on the perpetrator's career. It seems to have worked as SUBOG selected him as an opener without addressing this concern. SUBOG is complicit in the erasure of sexual assault victims. 

Yet, it seems that there is a complete failure upon a myriad of UConn Student Organizations. Following the announcement, The Daily Campus published a Life article titled, “Tonight we raise a glass to Sean Kingston,” featuring drinks one could make to celebrate his coming to campus. It is deplorable that a student news organization would celebrate a man who is accused of getting a 19-year-old drunk, and sexually assaulting her, with drink recipes. As a fellow rape survivor, one whose perpetrator was not charged, this is beyond “y’all got a fucking problem with everything.”

On April 10, the UConn Women’s Center, Office for Diversity and Inclusion, and the UConn Asian American Cultural Center will host Tarana Burke, creator of the “Me Too” movement. The next day, SUBOG will host Sean Kingston. Last week, we’ve asked the University to have more representation in videos and at the table who makes decisions on such content. What we need is to have representation and research done to protect other voices. As a black woman, I often wonder what happened in these rooms where decisions were made. Were any women or sexual assault survivors in the room when Sean Kingston was selected? 

Tier III Organizations, do better.

All the best,

Kailey Townsend

Communication, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Class of 2019

Former Tier III Leader, WHUS Radio