CUSA distances itself from Rick Ross concert

Carleton University’s Students’ Association has stopped promoting this year’s Pandamonium concert after considerable backlash from Carleton students.

Rick Ross performs at a concert in 2011. Photo by Michael Williams

By: GARRETT BARRY, KELLY GOOD and JESSICA THOMPSON

Rick Ross performs at a concert in 2011. Photo by Michael Williams

Rick Ross performs at a concert in 2011. Photo by Michael Williams

UPDATE: According to a release on Friday, CUSA will be refunding all tickets to the Rick Ross concert starting on April 8. No more tickets will be sold through CUSA offices. 

The CUSA executive is “looking to host an alternative event to celebrate the end of the academic year at Carleton University,” the release adds.

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The Carleton University’s Students’ Association has stopped promoting this year’s Pandamonium concert after backlash from Carleton students.

American rapper Rick Ross is scheduled to headline a concert at the Ernst & Young Centre April 9, but many students around Ottawa are upset about his lyrics in a new song which seem to celebrate date rape.

During a feature in the song U.O.E.N.O by Rocko, Ross raps “Put molly all in her champagne / She ain’t even know it / I took her home and I enjoyed that / She ain’t even know it.” Molly is a popular slang name for methylenedioxymethamphetamine, also known as MDMA.

“We would like to re-affirm our stance that we consider the lyrics in question to be repulsive and uncharacteristic of the views and beliefs of CUSA as an organization and its members,” read a statement from CUSA president Alexander Golovko.  “That being said, we are now in the process of looking into selling off the remainder of the tickets back to the organizers.”

CUSA had been selling students discounted tickets to tickets to the event. Campus newspaper The Charlatan reported that tickets were still being sold after the release from Golovko.

Last week, former Carleton University student Kira-Lynn Ferderber created a Facebook event called “Cancel the Rick Ross Concert funded by Carleton Students and CUSA.” Ferderber told the Ottawa Citizen last week that the song was “blatant celebration of rape.”

Despite CUSA’s release saying they hope to sell back all remaining tickets, Ferderber is still pushing for a cancellation of the event, urging attendees of her Facebook event to call CUSA representatives and the mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson.

She said the response to the Facebook event has been good so far, although there has been some harassment. So far over 1,000 people are “attending” her event.

CUSA public affairs councillor Dillon Black said that they were resigning their seat on council because of the controversy.

“After almost a year on CUSA council I have decided that it’s never been a vehicle for change so I needed to do something drastic and different to feel heard and to take action,” Black said.

They also expressed the need to acknowledge that rape and sexual violence is a real issue on our campus.

“There any many students who do not want their student fees to sponsor an event like this,” said Black. “We need to be upstanders, not bystanders. We actively need to do something and take actions against these issues.”

Pandamonium has been an annual concert event for students of the Ottawa area since 2007. It is meant to represent partnership between various student unions, including Carleton University Students’ Association (CUSA) and the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO).

This year, however, SFUO is not participating in the concert.  SFUO President Ethan Plato released a statement last week condemning the concert. According to the release, SFUO decided not to participate in the concert this year after Rick Ross was chosen as a headliner.

“The SFUO stands strongly behind its decision not to participate in this event and maintains that it should not continue to include a performance by Rick Ross,” said Plato in the SFUO statement.

On March 28, Ross told New Orleans radio station Q99.3 that he was “misinterpreted.”

“Woman is the most precious gift known to man,” he said. “There was a misunderstanding with a lyric, a misinterpretation where the term rape wasn’t used. I would never use the term rape in my records. As far as my camp — hip hop don’t condone that, the streets don’t condone that, nobody condones that….We don’t condone rape and I’m not with that.”

However in his 2009 song Gunplay, Ross rapped about having “wives tied up and raped.”

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