Trigger Warning: Topics including Sexual Assault, Violence and Harassment
“To be drugged by the comforts of privilege is to become contributors to injustice as silent beneficiaries of the fruits of injustice… an attitude not simply of refusal but of counterattack against injustice; a decision to work with others toward the dismantling of unjust social structures so that the weak, the oppressed, the marginalized of this world may be set free.”
– Fr. Pedro Arrupe
Dear Members of the Fordham Community,
Following the concerns of students brought up at the Student Life Council, we the United Student Government at Rose Hill, are deeply concerned with the allegations against upcoming Spring Weekend performer Sean Kingston. According to reports filed in 2013, Kingston and other men allegedly engaged in a non-consensual sexual act with a 19-year old woman. While this case was settled out of court and no verdict was made, we do not feel comfortable in having him represent our University and perform on Spring Weekend. We unconditionally stand with all survivors of sexual harassment, misconduct and assault.
We feel that hosting Sean Kingston contradicts our Jesuit identity, specifically Cura Personalis and being Men and Women for and with others. We believe that his presence on campus is a direct undermining of these ideals. While we recognize that under the law, all are innocent until proven guilty, as men and women for and with others, we must not participate in the silencing of sexual assault survivors, rather we are called upon to raise their voices.
Although these allegations did not involve a Fordham student, we believe that in looking past this allegation, we set a dangerous precedent. As the voice of the student body, we feel that it is important in times like these to show survivors of sexual assault that we will stand behind them, no matter the powerful position that a respondent may hold.
Fr. McShane has affirmed that “kindness, dignity, and protection of all persons are at the heart of cura personalis. One way, therefore, we live our mission is by not allowing discrimination and sexual violations to go unreported and unchallenged.” We do not come to our decision on this matter lightly, however, we as representatives of the student body must work to uphold the values that our university instills within us from the very beginning of our time here. We feel that the impact that this choice of performer has would directly contradict this affirmation and affect students’ sentiments of trust and support -as they relate to sexual harassment, misconduct, and assault- within the Fordham community.
By hosting Sean Kingston we are telling survivors that their voices do not matter and that speaking up is something to fear rather than aspire to. We call upon all voices involved in the performer selection process to rescind their offer to Kingston to perform at Fordham University on April 27th and make a conscious effort to ensure that all artists brought to campus embody our Jesuit values. We implore that all students and administration involved in these processes will put an emphasis on the value of survivors’ voices and recognize that changes must be made to our vetting process.
-United Student Government at Rose Hill 2018-2019