By Dana Foley:
Spring at Assumption College. Seniors seem to spend as much time as possible “dartying” (day partying) in the Valley with cornhole and cheesy country/techno music blasting from the six men housing, red solo cups and empty Bud Light cans littering the yard. Others soak up the sun even when it comes with 40 degree weather by grilling up in PSW or laying out in front of Hagan. The most anticipated part of spring, though? Pup Cup.
Pup Cup is the weekend before finals when the whole campus tries to sneak into the Valley, and those who can’t are compensated with various activities like the cookout at Hagan with games and inflatable rides. But even if you can’t get into the Valley and you have no desire to eat burgers and hotdogs, the Monday after Pup Cup is the annual spring concert. Available to all students, but not without controversy this year.
Some of the acts Assumption has booked in the past have included Groove Boston and Jesse McCartney, the latter being very well-received by most of the female population. When asked about her thoughts on the concert, senior Mipaula Gay voiced her dissatisfaction.
“I think the concerts cater to the predominantly white population of the school and leaves most people of color feeling unrepresented and unheard.”
A few weeks ago, CAB (Campus Activities Board) announced the performer for this year’s spring concert: Sean Kingston. Although Kingston spoiled it before the official announcement with an Instagram post of his upcoming College Tour dates, Twitter and Instagram were flooded with excitement. A few days later, an email was sent out to Assumption students informing them that the act was dropped due to issues with the performer’s past.
The email from administration stated,
“It has been brought to our attention that Mr. Kingston was the recipient of an alleged sexual assault in 2010. Although the criminal charges were dropped, the survivor filed a civil lawsuit in 2013 which resulted in a settlement of an undisclosed amount.”
When asked about the reasoning for dropping the act, CAB member Macee Buckley said,
“We actually had students reach out to us about their concerns about having Sean Kingston on campus. We didn’t know about the incident when we booked him but after finding out we investigated it.”
A number of other schools set for his tour, including University of Connecticut, had also dropped him as a performer. “We thought it was the ethically smart decision,” said Buckley.
With such a short period of time to find and book a new performer, CAB eventually succeeded in getting Two Friends, a popular dj act, as the guest.
When asked about their feelings toward the situation, responses among students varied. Senior John McCormack said,
“At first I was upset, not because they cancelled him [Kingston] but I was more mad at administration for not doing research on the issue.”
McCormack ended up going to the new act, Two Friends, and said,
“I thought they were awesome and a huge upgrade from the other bad dj’s we’ve had in the previous years.”
Senior Brianna Caputo felt a little differently.
“We have the most rape and sexual assaults on campus in Worcester but those are never talked about, and Sean Kingston was just accused but now they don’t tolerate it. Also, don’t get everyone’s hoped up and then cancel.”
The concert ended up breaking Assumption’s attendee record with 1,075 students showing up but also surfaced a lot of mixed feelings about the campus’ ethics.