When we first caught wind that Ohio University’s annual Throwback concert would be moving forward despite the resurfacing of rape allegations against Sean Kingston, we knew we had a decision to make as a publication. Would we also go forward with our coverage of the event?
In years past, The Post has sent reporters and photographers to cover the annual concert, as we do with just about every other major music event on campus. This year, however, we’ve decided that given the allegations, it would be inappropriate to cover Kingston’s performance. Recently, gang-rape allegations against Kingston resurfaced from 2010. Many of our reporters and editors have voiced concerns that lighthearted coverage of the event would ignore a much more serious issue at hand.
But this isn’t necessarily about how our reporters feel. This is about the simple fact that the University Programming Council and the Black Student Cultural Programming Board decided to move forward with bringing to campus an artist who has rape allegations against him.
We understand that money played a significant role in the decision. Bringing someone like Kingston to campus isn’t cheap, and it’s not easy to back out of an agreement like this at the last minute. Our campus’ values, however, should come before the price tag of a musical performance.
Consider the campus climate. Consider the unprecedented year we’ve had in terms of students fighting back against sexual assault, not to mention the fact that the concert is taking place on Denim Day — a global day of sexual violence awareness.
Last semester alone, local police received 27 reports of sexual assault. Hundreds of students took to the streets in September for the “It’s On Us, Bobcats” march and rally. We talked of bolstering on-campus resources for survivors and putting an end to a culture that normalizes and ignores sexual assault.
Making a cultural shift like that isn’t an easy talk. However, these seemingly insignificant decisions — like the one to go ahead with inviting an accused rapist to campus — can speak volumes.
Two weeks ago, the University of Connecticut cancelled Kingston’s performance because of the allegations. Students at Fordham University are petitioning their university administrations to cancel Kingston’s show on their campus as well.
Our student leaders and administrators should follow the lead of those other universities that have taken a stand and made it clear that they truly stand with survivors.
Editorials represent the majority opinion of The Post's executive editors: Editor-in-Chief Lauren Fisher, Managing Editor Maddie Capron, Digital Managing Editor Alex McCann, Assistant Managing Editor Jessica Hill and Creative Director Abby Gordon. Post editorials are independent of the publication's news coverage.