Over 200 Boston College faculty have signed a letter sent to University President Rev. William P. Leahy, S.J., and Provost and Dean of Faculties David Quigley Monday morning questioning the appropriateness of the Campus Activities Board’s (CAB) invitation to B.o.B to perform at Thursday’s Modstock festival. This follows a letter written to Leahy by Alan Marcus, a BC finance professor, and Sheryl Marcus, BC ’05, expressing concern over the upcoming performance.
The letter raised concern over B.o.B’s single “Flatline,” which suggested anti-Semitic views by invoking the conspiracy theory of Jewish control over the United States government and appear to support British historian David Irving, who is a known Holocaust-denier. They specifically raised concern over the lyrics do your research on “Do your research on David Irving / Stalin was way worse than Hitler / That’s why the POTUS gotta wear a Kippa.”
They also brought up public statements that express hostility to science, including proclamations that the earth is flat, and that the lunar landing was “staged.” The rapper has also publicly claimed that the Sept. 11 attacks were an inside job and that the U.S. government is “cloning celebrities.”
“We, faculty and staff of Boston College, are embarrassed that our Jesuit and Catholic university is supporting a performer who spouts such offensive and uneducated statements,” the letter reads. “We are concerned that the sentiments he expresses could be condoned as legitimate discourse on our campus.”
The letter calls on the University to “issue a strong response, reinforcing Boston College’s mission to live out the social justice imperatives” and “disavowing B.o.B.’s conspiracy theories and anti-science and anti-Semitic proclamations.” The letter also requests that BC review CAB’s processes for selecting B.o.B as a performer.
The University had not yet responded to a request for comment at press time.
The letter comes a week after CAB announced its Modstock pick. Members of the BC community have publicly condoned inviting B.o.B to come to campus.
CAB initially responded to the criticism with a statement dissociating the organization from the rapper’s personal views. CAB then released an apology on Monday.
“We hope that the Boston College community knows that we were not aware of B.o.B’s viewpoints when we chose him to perform, and it was never our intention to offend anyone,” the statement said. “We invite artists to perform based on their musical talent and popularity with the student body. Any invitation to perform at any of our concerts is not, and has never been, an endorsement of the artist’s viewpoints.”
The Boston College Hillel Executive Board issued a statement, revised from a previous version, on Monday, which expressed its disappointment in choosing B.o.B to headline Modstock and in CAB’s response to student and faculty concerns.
“Boston College has a strong multi-faith community, but this choice in artist made by the Campus Activities Board isolates the Jewish students, staff, and faculty in the Boston College community,” the statement reads. “Jesuit and Jewish traditions emphasize the key role of building and fostering community, but this decision and the recent statement issued by CAB feel like the opposite, dividing our community and making it feel less inclusive.”
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