The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor: Re: “A Ludacris Decision”

I’d like to personally applaud Stephen Pasqualina’s article about the University’s hypocritical decision in allowing Ludacris but banning “The Vagina Monologues” performance. Ironically, I am a frequent critic of Mr. Pasqualina’s articles and disagree with many viewpoints he writes about, yet in the one case I decide to write in, I am in firm agreement. Go figure.

I am not against hip-hop music, in fact I have plenty of it on my iPod, but I can certainly understand how the language and misogyny in its lyrics has the potential to offend students. Given this, why was he accepted and the play that actual St. John’s students asked to perform not allowed? I agree that the University’s decision in this case is, at best, questionable.

I wonder if certain members of our vaunted Philosophy department, which rushed so quickly to breathlessly condemn the play and justify the University’s decision in not allowing it on campus, will condemn Ludacris’ performance here as well.

Perhaps if they heard his lyrics they would decry his $85,000 tab? Somehow I doubt it though, given how much our University has invested in this concert.

I am in total agreement with this editorial that the University must stop this hypocrisy and take a firm stand in one direction.

Either allow both for the students’ enjoyment, or allow nothing to be done that contradicts these rigid “values” that all of us students keep hearing about. Consider me, for one, firmly in the former category, allow Ludacris to perform, and allow the play too. Otherwise, don’t prove what is true in so many other cases that “values” only go so far.

Richard Freeman
St. John’s College

To the Editor:
As a St. John’s University senior, I can’t help but feel like I’ve been subjected to a “Woman vs. Machine” relationship with the Administration for the last four years. To see the university justify paying Ludacris $80,000 to come perform, while unilaterally banning a production of “The Vagina Monologues” is simply the icing on the cake.

I have no problem with Ludacris performing on campus, especially because I will hopefully be in the first row of the concert. However, I am intrigued as to what Ludacris will perform, since many of his songs have “controversial” and un-Vincentian subject matter. My only problem is the complete hypocrisy of the Administration. In the January 17th Torch article introducing the topic of V-Day, Associate VP of Student Affairs Jose Rodriguez speculated on the offensive nature of the play as the reasoning behind the denial of the production. VP of Student Affairs Fr. James Maher went as far as saying the play “Really gets us divided on an issue that we have to be fundamentally unified on.” Yet by allowing Ludacris’ performance the administration has completely ignored the “issue” altogether, instead of allowing an open dialogue.

As we all know, Ludacris is getting paid a pretty penny to come, and I bet you the University will be earning some money off of this performance as well. The University claims that they will negotiate with Ludacris’ agent to make sure he omits any topics or phrases unbecoming of young Vincentians. However, they refused to negotiate with Ms. Brizicky or anyone involved with V-Day. Unfortunately, by promoting a rapper like Ludacris, who is clearly concerned with women’s rights by writing such songs as “You’ze a Ho”, “Move Bitch”, etc., the university has shown alarming support for greed and misogyny. Perhaps the Administration should be honest with the real reasoning behind their decisions, instead of hiding behind a shroud of Catholicism and feminism.

Unfortunately, I am graduating this year. However, next year when V-Day is inevitably denied again, I look forward to being reminded by Jose Rodriguez, Fr. Maher, alumni Ned Dougherty, and Torch favorite Marie George what it means to be Catholic, a Vincentian, and a real feminist.

Diane Shea
St. John’s College

To the Editor: Re: “A Ludacris Decision”:

I am a sophomore at this school and I am astonished, disgusted and absolutely abhorred at the fact that because of your ridiculous article Ludacris cannot be at the “Just Press Play” concert. Though I understand your point regarding the Vincentian Mission of the University, Ludacris has many songs that deal with real life social and political issues that are affecting this country and the urban community.

Songs such as “Run away Love” and “Slap” deal with the social issues of run away teenagers and with the oppression of the African-American man. Ludacris not coming says to people who listen to urban music and are students of St. John’s, that the school does not care about their interests. If Ludacris does not exemplify the Vincentian mission, please inform me as to how and why Hellogoodbye, exemplify the Vincentian Mission of the University besides the fact that they do not use curse words.

Urban music is an art form, an artistic expression of the urban struggle and artists such as Ludacris bring attention to this constant struggle so that those who do not know about it may become aware of it and be inspired to change themselves and their lives for the better. It also brings comfort to those experiencing the struggle on a day-to-day basis. Those who refuse to listen to hip-hop music are ignorant to its underlining message of hope for a better life, and therefore just see it as “degrading” and “offensive.” I listen to all kinds of music, especially hip-hop and I am very proud of the important messages that it tries to relay to its listeners, consumers and dedicated fans.

Ludacris should come to St. John’s University to prove to the University community and other universities that St. John’s cares about and listens to everyone’s point of view.

Frances Adomako
St. John’s ’05

To the Editor: Re:” Seniors kept out of the Graduation loop”:
I want to thank you for finally writing a piece on this very unfortunate situation at St. John’s. I am currently a senior and I had the chance to attend last year’s graduation ceremony because a very close friend of mine was graduating.
There are no words to explain the embarrassment I went through during that ceremony.

First, I must say that after all of the money students invest in their education there is no excuse for them to have such a poor planned ceremony. Hard work and four years of sacrifice are poured in and all of it is to just look forward to graduation day. The day your family will sit back and recognize your accomplishments. The day your family will visit your campus and your chance to show your parents how special your times at St. John’s were.

Well, this was far from the truth last graduation.

First, more tickets were given out than the seats available. Parents were locked out and told they had to watch their son/daughter graduate on a screen in one of the viewing areas in other buildings. The ceremony that I attended was the Tobin College of Business and The College of Professional Studies. My heart went out to all of the CPS graduates because Tobin students were receiving their diploma and exiting the ceremony leaving CPS graduates with empty chairs and guests walking out. It was a complete embarrassment.

Administrators and security on the floor should have been around to prevent graduates from leaving their own ceremony. CPS did the best that they could given the circumstances but it was not fair to their graduating seniors. The blame however is also given to the poor planning on the part of Special Events. How could you ever expect parents to see their son/daughter in a viewing area after all the hard work they have put into earning that degree?
I believe this school puts so much money into construction, residence life, and creating new departments that they should spend more time planning
a memorable graduation for their seniors. It seems as if the university is only catering to the first and second year students (especially with the new housing rule) and leaving juniors and seniors out in the cold… or rather in “viewing areas.”

Alexa Dea

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