After the decision to uninvite artist B.o.B from Wittfest was made, Wittenberg’s student body was full of mixed emotions and confusion. Once Dean of Students Casey Gill sent out an email confirming the revoked invitation, members of Union Board started to receive hateful and harsh tweets and texts from fellow students about the decision.
Co-president of Union Board, Annie Carroll, ‘19, tweeted in response: “We are all people with emotions. Please stop attacking [Union Board]. Thanks.”
The main controversy of B.o.B’s retracted invitation revolves around his outspoken beliefs. The artist has an outspoken hatred toward Jewish people and believes the earth is flat, to name a few.
Political science professor Heather Wright tweeted: “Proud to belong to a community that refuses to provide a platform for antisemitism, holocaust denial and denial of American slavery.”
Many students, on the other hand, had differing opinions. One student, who asked to remain anonymous, said, “He’s just coming to Witt to perform. He’s not coming here to spew hate or do anything stupid; he’s just going to sing a couple of songs, so I don’t understand what the harm is in that.”
Perhaps what started the whole ordeal was a petition, spearheaded by Allison Ross, ‘20, which was signed by less than 20 students. The petition was to have the artists invitation revoked because the students didn’t believe that the artists ‘views aligned with Wittenberg’s.
After the announcement was made, Jake Haas, ‘19, started his own petition to bring back the artist. As of this past Thursday, the petition had over 150 signatures.
The description of the petition reads: “The petition to drop B.o.B does not represent the majority of campus. We want him for his performance, not his beliefs.”
So far, there has been no indication that Union Board will reverse their decision to uninvite B.o.B, despite the creation
of a new petition.
Students also pointed to Witt’s emphasis on diversity of thought stating that, if Witt denies B.o.B from performing at Wittfest, isn’t that putting a limitation on that diversity of thought?
One Witt student tweeted, “So much for loving everyone the way they are and allowing them to have freedom in their beliefs. What a joke.”
Because there was such an uproar after the announcement was made, the original story line was made unclear to some students, who then assumed that the artist chose not to come to Witt himself due to the “complaints” from students.
“I didn’t even know he was an anti-semite until I saw someone else tweet about it,” Taylor Howerton, ‘20, said. “As soon as I saw that, I tweeted out an apology because I didn’t realize he had those beliefs.”
At this point, campus seems to have calmed down, as they are eager to hear the announcement from Union Board of the new headliner sometime this week.