The following letter to the editor was submitted by Provost David Quigley and Vice President of Student Affairs Barb Jones. The letter, which was sent to faculty members Dan Kirschner, Ruth Langer, and Alan Marcus, responds to the concerns of members of the Boston College community after Holocaust denier B.o.B. was selected by the Campus Activities Board to headline the annual Modstock concert.
We write to provide an update on the concerns that were raised regarding the performer at this year’s Modstock concert. After hearing from several faculty and students, we have spent time reviewing the selection and vetting process to consider how we as a community can make improvements and avoid such incidents in the future. It is clear that the vetting of this year’s performer by the student-run Campus Activities Board was inadequate. The student leaders have acknowledged and apologized for their errors, and they, along with their advisers in the Office of Student Involvement, have committed to developing more comprehensive procedures for the evaluation and approval of musical performers in the future.
We recognize that members of our community were offended by B.o.B’s presence at Boston College, and his song lyrics that reference Holocaust denial. As ADL CEO Jonathon Greenblatt stated, “While it is unclear whether these lyrics are meant to be taken seriously, it is nonetheless troubling that B.o.B seems to have given new life to the anti-Semitic conspiracy theory of Jewish control of the U.S. government while handing a free publicity gift to the notorious Holocaust denier, David Irving.”
We intend to work with others on campus during the 2018-2019 academic year to develop programming to address these issues and make clear to our students and entire community that anti-intellectual and anti-Semitic statements have no place at Boston College.
Working together, we know that we can use this incident as a learning opportunity, while affirming the University’s core values of integrity, dialogue and mutual respect.
Barb Jones, Vice President, Student Affairs
David Quigley, Provost, Dean of Faculties, Professor of History