By Helen Stevenson
On Thursday, April 18, Campus Activities Board (CAB) announced their decision to keep rapper Sean Kingston in the Spring Weekend lineup.
Their announcement comes after an Instagram account under the username @studentsagainstsean followed a number of Fordham students, demanding Sean Kingston’s removal from the 2019 CAB Spring Weekend lineup.
The creators of the account, Students Emily Mueller, Emily Andrade, Meg Vanecko, Grace Kubelka and Arden Crawford, all FCRH ’21 students, said they created the account in response to a 2013 court case, in which Kingston settled a $5 million lawsuit with a woman who accused him of gang rape. The account and the group’s advocacy generated a campus-wide conversation that addressed the artists Fordham books for Spring Weekend.
“The accusations from 2013 were settled in civil court, Mr. Kingston was never arrested or prosecuted, and we have no additional information other than tabloid news reports,” CAB’s statement reads.
On Thursday, April 11, the “Students Against Sean” group addressed the United Student Government (USG) to voice their concerns.
That same day, USG released a statement requesting Sean Kingston’s removal.
“We feel that hosting Sean Kingston contradicts our Jesuit identity, specifically Cura Personalis and being Men and Women for and with others,” they wrote. “While we recognize that under the law, all are innocent until proven guilty, as men and women for and with others, we must not participate in the silencing of sexual assault survivors, rather we are called upon to raise their voices.”
Kathryn Teaney, GSB ’19 and CAB president, said in a statement to The Fordham Ram that they do take into account artists’ past controversies when scheduling a performance. She said that unfortunately, when completing their original search for Kingston, these allegations did not come up.
“The new information does not affect the validity of our contract with Mr. Kingston and at this time we plan to keep him in the lineup for the concert,” reads CAB’s statement.
In a joint statement to The Fordham Ram, the “Students Against Sean” advocates said they had initially left comments voicing their concerns from their personal accounts on the Sean Kingston announcement post. However, shortly after, comments on the post were disabled.
“Because of issues in past years, we’ve decided to disable comments on all Spring Weekend announcement posts,” Teaney said.
However, in a statement found in the Students Against Sean Instagram account bio, the group argued against this explanation.
“Last year’s announcements were open for comments and so were Kingston’s until someone mentioned the allegations,” they stated.
The “Students Against Sean” said they have received pushback from other members of the Fordham community.
“[Adversaries] suggested we ignore this allegation and ‘just have fun’ since CAB members worked so hard to organize Spring Weekend,” they said.
“Our supporters have found this unacceptable, and we need to hold CAB and our administration accountable.”
An Instagram account was created with the handle @studentsforsean, in support of Sean Kingston, stating the student body has the “right” to see him perform.
“It is also your right not to go,” one post reads. “You can simply wait for the other acts to come on the stage.”