There has been bad and good to come out of the spotlight on the Campus Activities Board’s (CAB) hiring of B.o.B.
The bad: while CAB members did ultimately issue an apology concerning B.o.B, it was issued only after an initial rationalization that while they support him as an artist and entertainer, it didn’t mean he represented their views. The apology came after B.o.B’s hurtful and outrageous lyrics were pointed out in The Heights editorials and elsewhere, lyrics which CAB could easily have found online as part of what is supposed to be a vigorous vetting process.
Was this episode just about vetting or was it more broadly a case study about sensitivity? We hope both, with an emphasis on the latter, but given the initial reaction of CAB, one might wonder. The letters sent by faculty and students to members of the administration and to The Heights came after a lot of angst, because it’s not comfortable bringing attention to yourself when you’re part of a minority, and frankly, it’s not comfortable to acknowledge disappointment in your friends and classmates. It’s hard to actually have to ask for respect and consideration, especially if you’re an undergraduate here.
The good that has come of it is the support that has been expressed by some students and faculty. It means a lot—it really does.
What might we have hoped would come of our letters? Learning, most of all. Of course it would have been nice if the contract with B.o.B had been terminated, but short of that (which we realized from the outset was unlikely), it would still be great for the BC student community to be “upstanders”—to just not show up for that part of the concert. How nice it would be to feel supported in that way. But at this point, the most we hope and ask for is greater emphasis on sensitivity to all groups in the community—in the teaching, learning, and reflection that is part of BC’s curriculum.
Alan Marcus, Professor of Finance
Sheryl Marcus, BC ’05
Featured Graphic by Nicole Chan / Graphics Editor