Sean Kingston’s UCONNIC Music Festival performance has been cancelled after controversy surrounding a 2010 gang-rape allegation against the Jamaican-American singer/songwriter, according to Student Union Board of Governors president Adam Sherif and current outreach chair and incoming concert chair Jacob Stockman. SUBOG will also be providing all students who bought festival tickets with a full refund.
Summer Walker will also be unable to perform at the festival, according to her Instagram. Her post described a turbulent travel experience, preventing her from attending.
“So yeah anyway now I’m stuck in Minnesota so I’m sorry for the show I missed tonight,” Walker wrote. “I tried to catch other flights but they kept getting cancelled, not to mention it’s my birthday so this sucks ass.”
The festival will still be taking place, with performers Lil Baby, HVN, Kids that Fly and Style Points.
As of this afternoon, the festival was slated to run for the originally scheduled time, from 6 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., but student performers playing for 30 minutes as opposed to the originally scheduled 15, according to Stockman. Other aspects of the festival, like food trucks, vendors and attractions, will still be included.
There will no longer be any distinctions based on which type of ticket a student purchased. Floor tickets, lower and upper level ticket-holders will be able to visit all parts of the concert. Stockman described the event as “free-flowing” in an email. Although students are no longer paying for the event, since they will all be issued a full refund, ticket sales have closed and only students who have purchased a ticket already will be allowed inside.
The changes to the music festival were first communicated to students in an ambiguous SUBOG Instagram story.
“We are well aware of the issues surrounding one of our performers for tonight,” the Instagram statement read. “We are working to address the issues as quickly as possible and will release an official statement shortly.”
Later the change to the lineup was officially released on SUBOG’s concert website with an apology (https://concert.subog.uconn.edu/change/), which was linked from Twitter and Instagram.
“SUBOG would like to acknowledge the students who voiced their opinions about this selection, and to assure them that the organization is sorry to have disappointed you,” the statement said. “We pride ourselves on offering events ‘for students, by students,’ and are committed to learning from this experience as we move forward.”
SUBOG met with other Tier III organizations to discuss the decision and prepare a statement before announcing it to the students.
The statement, later released on Twitter, expressed support for SUBOG’s decision and a condemnation of Kingston’s alleged actions from the other Tier III organizations on campus. Each Tier III organization besides SUBOG signed the statement.
“We all stand with and believe survivors of sexual assault, and condemn those who do not support survivors of sexual assault,” the statement read. “Tier III organizations do not support or endorse any of the alleged actions that Sean Kingston has been accused of, nor do his actions represent us.”
According to SUBOG, they heard about the allegations surrounding Kingston at the same time as the rest of the student body.
“We were simply unaware of the allegations against Kingston prior to the decision to book him,” Stockman said. “If we did know of these allegations, we most definitely would not have considered him as an option to open the second UCONNIC Music Festival.”
After lengthy discussion, SUBOG’s board made the decision to cancel the performance.
“Upon learning of the allegations along with the rest of the student body, we were incredibly concerned,” Stockman said. “We immediately began to take action and work on what the correct move would be to address the issue.”
Stockman said this may have repercussions for UCONNIC and SUBOG in the future, and will definitely change the way they approach booking artists, but regardless of the consequences, the decision had to be made.
Alex Houdeshell is the associate managing editor for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.