Harvard officials said last night that the college's Office of Student Life is requesting that the student-led groups who picked Tyga to perform at Yardfest reconsider their decision, following an online petition calling on Harvard to cancel the hip-hop artist for his misogynistic lyrics.
Jeff Neal, a spokesman for the college, wrote in an e-mailed statement that the choice invite Tyga was made by the Yardfest Artist Selection Committee, which is led by students. The committee is a joint subcommittee of the College Events Board and the College Concert Commission, he wrote.
“The College's Office of Student Life has asked the College Events Board and Concert Commission to re-evaluate the invitation to Tyga in light of the concerns raised by students that the performer's lyrics are offensive and hurtful to many in our community,” he wrote in the statement.
An online petition calling on Harvard to cancel a performance by the hip-hop artist at Yardfest has gathered nearly 1,800 signatures to date.
The petition condemns the college for inviting the performer, saying he is "notorious for his explicitly and violently misogynistic lyrics.”
“We believe that a Yardfest without a headliner would be better than a Yardfest that amplifies misogyny and violence,” the petition says. “We demand that Harvard rescind its offer to Tyga, because we believe that Harvard should not perform a platform for music that promotes sexism and rape culture.”
Neal said in the statement that if the students decide to retain Tyga, the College will not overrule that decision.
He said that the administration shares the concerns about the artist, but that “overruling a decision made by student leaders would not be in keeping either with our commitment as a College to free expression, however offensive, or to student governance.”
But Neal wrote that if Tyga does perform, “we then would ask the Women's Center, the Office of BGLTQ Student Life, the Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations, the Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response, and others to work with students to foster a learning opportunity across campus about the types of messages contained in Tyga's lyrics and how they are perceived by many members of our community.”
Katherine Landergan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. For campus news updates, follow her on Twitter @klandergan.
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