Editor’s Note: The cancellation of Sean Kingston’s concert at OH-Fest Saturday evening, April 20, in Neahwa Park, sparked a pungent debate on All OTSEGO.com’s Facebook pages. Here’s a sampling of the back and forth.
►Kevin Comstock – If students from both colleges are the ones that pick the performers, then the concert should be held on campus … Keep the carnival downtown for the kids and family’s to enjoy.
►James Flannery – Honestly I’ve loved OH-Fest my whole life, and now being a SUNY student it’s become a headache. I don’t think we need to get rid of it, but we need to evaluate a lot of things. Example, part of
my tuition is the Student Activities Fee, which is due to increase to over $800 next semester. It’s so high because of OH-Fest. I feel like my money has now been wasted. So adjustments have to be made across the board.
►Teresa – If I were anyone famous, after this, I’d say … no to coming here. I truly am ashamed of this town and the college for allowing it
►Tiffany Frazier – Ya, ’cause they wasted 60 grand….
►Rose Straney-Kjellquist – So instead of shrugging and sweeping it all under the rug, SUNY made a lesson out of it and is enacting changes. Awesome.
►Kimmehameha German – Maybe next time they should do some vigorous research. Quick Google search would’ve told them about Kingston’s almost decade-old rape allegation, which he was never officially charged for or found guilty of. Their attempt at social justice cost $60,000.
►Matt – Start by not getting rappers?
►Karen Hayes Knickerbocker – The only winner here is Sean Kingston. He got $60k and didn’t have to do a thing to get it. If I were him I would have walked down Main Street with his entourage. Just cause.
►Tyler Logan – I’ve never seen a city struggle so much with an annual concert. Every year there is some mishap or complaining. Just be done with the whole thing, because clearly nobody can handle a ONCE-a-year event. Small-town problems.
►Robert Makofske – The squeaky snowflake gets the grease.
►Nikke Allen Hunt – They didn’t protest when A Boogie Wit Da Hoodie performed, even though he has a rap sheet including sexual assault prior to his performance in Oneonta.
►Teresa Olmstead – Talk about condemnation of someone who has never been charged with a crime nor convicted. You are a disgrace to the Land of the Free and to the Constitution of the United States and the Bill of Rights
►Irene Morrissey – He settled out of court, which means money cures everything in the USA!
►Gina Colone – But just because he settled out of court doesn’t necessarily mean he was guilty? Right? If someone is assaulted I’d think they’d want that person in jail, unless money is motivator for the allegations.
►Teresa Olmstead – I don’t care about the music … but cancelling it the way they did just because of 9-year-old allegations. And yes, you’re probably right about it being motivated by someone wanting money. They know famous people will settle regardless of their innocence because it’s bad for them
►Tom Whitney – Hey, c’mon … Only the Prezzz is allowed to $buy$ his way outta trouble!
►Crystal Couse – The man is accused of gang rape. I guess I don’t understand why people think a person like this is acceptable in our town??
►Astrid Tara – Not that I attend it in many years, but I think it’s ridiculous that this is happening. If you don’t agree with who’s playing don’t go. No one is holding you hostage to attend. Too many people easily offended by everything. Could’ve brought a lot of business to the area for the weekend. Don’t complain local businesses aren’t thriving when you drive business that could be made out of the area.
By JENNIFER HILL • Hometown Oneonta & The Freeman’s Journal
ONEONTA – By a 9-5 vote, with one abstention, the SUNY Oneonta Student Associate Senate voted Tuesday, April 23, to do nothing for now on vetting of future OH-Fest headliners.
Instead, it plans to set up a study committee to make recommendations.
Drafted by junior Eric Battista after this year’s OH-Fest concert was suddenly cancelled over gang-rape allegations against Rapper Sean Kingston, the resolution sought to toughen background checks in the future.
“Whereas students of SUNY Oneonta were left in the dark on communications that invited people to the college that conflicted with our values and mission statement,” wrote Battista.
He drafted the resolution after SUNY Oneonta cancelled canceled the concert for the first time in OH-Fest’s 13-year history, the day after a “community dialogue” organized by a Know Violence Committee indicated protest might punctuate the music.
“We did the search on Sean Kingston. Nothing came up on his background search because he was not convicted,” said Senator Arianna Greene. Instead, she suggested creating an “open forum” for students to share information, especially on social media, instead of creating a committee.
ONEONTA – While most SUNY Oneonta students were at OH-Fest festivities today, eight students, a faculty member and a staff member met gathered at 5 p.m. to discuss ways to avoid selecting musical performers that did not match “the values of SUNY Oneonta.”
SUNY junior Eric Battista scheduled the meeting after he emailed students early about a resolution he drafted, proposing to “change the way speakers/performers are chosen and handled in the future” by the college’s Student Association. He said he received “hundreds of emails” back from students who said they supported his proposal but already had plans at the time of the meeting.
Battista decided to write the resolution and introduce it after SUNY Oneonta administrators Friday canceled tonight’s OH-Fest concert. Their decision came after learning students intended to protest the concert’s top performer, Sean Kingston, after discovering 2010 gang-rape allegations made against the rapper.
ONEONTA – City Hall revoked OH-Fest’s Neahwa Park permit this morning after Mayor Gary Herzig learned on www.AllOTSEGO.com overnight that large numbers of students might protest concert headliner Sean Kingston after learning last week he and his bodyguard were accused of a gang rape in 2010.
The city’s decision throws into doubt whether the Saturday night OH-fest concert will happen at all.
Herzig said he called SUNY President Barbara Jean Morris after SUNY students’ emotionally charged meeting last night, where they discussed whether Kingston should perform.
ONEONTA – After learning last week that the OH-Fest headliner, rapper Sean Kingston, and his bodyguard were accused of gang rape in 2010, SUNY Oneonta students and staff – some said they were sexual assault survivors – met this evening in the college’s Center for Multicultural Experiences to discuss whether to push for canceling Kingston’s performance.
Leaders of the college’s Know Violence Committee – its stated goal it to educate the campus on “issues of sexual assault and relationship violence” – organized the “Open Community Dialogue” meeting after word of the allegations against Kingston spread.
About 60 people attended, many of them voicing opposition to allowing Kingston to perform and anger at “the lack of response” from SUNY Oneonta administrators, who have not yet issued a statement about the controversy.