The following contains mention of sexual misconduct.
Following Friday’s announcement that Sean Kingston will no longer headline at Quadstock 2017, Seattle University’s Student Events & Activities Council (SEAC) plans to create a more thorough vetting process for future Quadstock bookings.
The crowd celebrates at Quadstock 2016.
Kingston’s name on the lineup for the annual on-campus music festival was met largely with enthusiasm. But when senior visual arts major Lily Moore saw a photo of the rapper, she didn’t recognize him for his music.
“I decided to look him up and immediately recognized his face from my research on famous men who’ve been accused of rape for my latest art series,” Moore said.
In 2012, a 22-year-old woman filed a lawsuit against Kingston for allegedly raping her. Kingston settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed amount in 2013 and maintained his innocence.
Last week, Moore brought her concern to SEAC, which organized the event, as well as Campus Ministry, Seattle U Title IX coordinators and the Dean of Students. She said she was glad to see the event organizers take action and cancel Kingston’s upcoming performance.
“I was honestly surprised that the school took action, but I couldn’t be happier,” Moore said.
In a letter to the Seattle U community on Friday, Quadstock co-chairs Sophia Androlowicz and Nakiya Baker said they had no prior knowledge of the allegations against Kingston, and that their reactions were of “shock, confusion, and deep conflict.”
“As always, it is the mission of SEAC to uphold the university’s values and provide excellent, creative, inclusive, educational, and diverse programming to the student body. We decided that we could not meet these standards in light of the allegations against Kingston,” they wrote in the letter.
Because Kingston had already signed a contract for the event, he will be paid the full $25,000 originally agreed upon for his performance.
Baker, a second-year humanities for leadership and Spanish major, said SEAC is currently in conversation about implementing a more intense vetting process for booking talent in the future.
“I think it just needs to be a general thing that we do to look into [the artist’s] history and their past, just see what they bring when they’re bringing themselves onto campus,” she said.
Quadstock will still take place this Saturday, May 20. Following the headliner cancellation, SEAC offered a reduced ticket price of $10, a $10 refund option for those attending who already purchased tickets or a full refund for students who no longer wished to attend. The event organizers said on Tuesday that about 80 people had come to the Redhawk Resource Hub since Friday’s announcement— half for full refunds and half for partial refunds.
In their decision-making process last week, Baker and Androlowicz sought advice from several organizations on campus, including the Health and Wellness Crew (HAWC), Student Government of Seattle University (SGSU), the Center for Student Involvement and the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA).
One of the groups they turned to was Survivor Support Network (SSN), an organization started by students earlier this school year with the aim of ensuring safety for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence within the Seattle U community.
Senior criminal justice major Kayla Todd, a co-founder of SSN, said she was glad to be included in SEAC’s deliberation process.
“We formed SSN because we saw a gap in resources for survivors on campus, as well as a lack of consistent consideration for survivors’ desires in decisions that directly affect them,” Todd said. “Being a part of this conversation is certainly an indicator that we are making progress in regard to centering survivors’ voices in these decisions on campus.”
Senior Koji Clark, executive director of SEAC, said the past week has led to meaningful conversations, both within the council and on campus as a whole.
“I think it opened up a lot of room for really meaningful discussion on our campus about what some of these issues mean for us as individuals, but also what it meant for our community,” Clark said.
Quadstock takes place this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the Union Green. Still on the lineup are Bibi Bourelly, Sam Lachow and Morado, among other acts. Tickets can be purchased for $10 at the Redhawk Resource Hub until Friday, May 19.
“We take a lot of pride in valuing the students and their experiences, and making sure they feel that they are heard and that they are valued,” Clark said, “and that the decisions we make aren’t on behalf of another agenda, but are on behalf of students.”
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Strategic Communications Major, Digital Media Coordinator for the Spectator. Talents include coffee consumption, making friends with dogs, and figuring things out as he goes.