The State University of New York (SUNY) at Oneonta has cancelled Sean Kingston’s scheduled performance at their OH-Fest, joining a growing list of universities calling for the removal of Kingston as a performer after the University of Connecticut’s decision to cancel his show.
Kingston’s performance at SUNY-Oneonta was scheduled for last Saturday night, according to AllOtsego. The cancellation was due to the city of Oneonta’s pulling the necessary permit for Kingston to perform in its Neahwa Park, according to the Daily Star, and because school administrators learned students intended to protest his appearance.
“Oneonta Mayor Gary Herzig said he had heard that some students might protest Kingston’s appearance during the concert in the park Saturday night and that raised questions about the safety of participants,” the Daily Star read.
Franklin Chambers, SUNY Oneonta’s vice president of student development, said in a memo to the campus that their decision to cancel Kingston came down to safety, stating that they were given less than 36 hours to change the venue and they did not believe it would be possible to ensure the level of security that would be necessary for the event.
“We regret needing to make this choice and acknowledge it will disappoint members of Oneonta’s campus communities and many others,” Chambers said. “However, the college, no matter the circumstances, must act in students’ best interests.”
After school officials cancelled the performance, SUNY Oneonta junior Eric Battista drafted a resolution for the school to “change the way speakers/performers are chosen and handled in the future” and a meeting was held with him and seven other students, as well as one faculty member and one staff member, AllOtsego said.
“According to participants at (the) meeting, a student at SUNY found out about allegations on hearing the University of Connecticut canceled a scheduled Kingston performance on April 11,” the AllOtsego article reads. “The news traveled quickly over social media, culminating in a school meeting.”
Students at the meetings, some of whom identified themselves as sexual assault survivors, voiced their anger that college administrators had not said anything about Kingston’s allegations, according to AllOtsego.
“I’m assuming that the people voting did not know about the allegations and we should not place blame on the researchers. It was one of those freak accidents. No one knew,” Battista said. “But when we found out, there was no ‘whoops,’ there was no ‘listen, this was a freak accident, but yes, it should have been caught, communicated.’”
Ultimately, Battista’s resolution proposed the forming of a committee to properly research and vet possible performers and speakers coming to SUNY Oneonta in the future to make sure details as serious as rape allegations are given the appropriate considerations, AllOtsego said.
“I definitely want to change the way of vetting speakers and performers,” Battista said.
Gabriella DeBenedictis is a senior staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.