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SUNY-O Cancels

Rapper Kingston’s

OH-Fest Concert

Too Little Time To Reschedule

It On Campus, College Declares

ONEONTA – SUNY Oneonta this afternoon cancelled tomorrow’s OH-Fest concert after students learned the featured artist, rapper Sean Kingston, had faced allegations of involvement in a gang rape in 2010, and they gathered last evening in a “community dialogue,” trying to decide what to do.

Mayor Gary Herzig, concerned about protests, this morning withdrew the city permit for OH-Fest to stage the concert in Neahwa Park, suggesting it be moved to SUNY Oneonta’s Dewar Arena.

A few minutes ago, however, SUNY Oneonta VP/Student Development Franklin Chambers announced there’s not enough time to stage such a large event in such short order.  “Our decision came down to safety,” he said.

The OH-Fest street festival will go on as scheduled from 1 to 5 p.m. on Main Street.

Here’s the text of Chambers’ e-mail:

“The president, senior members of her staff, the University Police Department chief, chief facilities planning and safety officer, director of student activities, legal counsel and I met to discuss this. We assessed the feasibility of relocating the concert to Alumni Field House, where the college has staged several concerts through the years, on such short notice.

VP/Student Development Franklin Chambers announced the decision.

“Our decision came down to safety. OH-Fest planning is a months-long process involving the City, Hartwick College and SUNY Oneonta. Given less than 36 hours to change the venue, we simply do not believe it would be possible to ensure the level of security we deem necessary for an event of this type and size.

“We regret needing to make this choice and acknowledge it will disappoint members of Oneonta’s campus communities and many others. However, the college, no matter the circumstances, must act in students’ best interests.

“The disposition of this year’s OH-Fest concert offers a teachable moment.

“Earlier this week a petition was created urging the college to cancel Sean Kingston, the scheduled headlining act, because of concerns related to a sexual-assault allegation. This has become part of a broader cultural conversation around how we make conscious decisions as consumers and confront sexual assault. As the colleges move forward through today and the discussions that this week will bring forth, we ask members of our campus community to keep survivors in their thoughts.”


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