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Thursday, April 19,2012

Wyclef Jean agrees to CU censorship

Contract with CU says performer can’t mention pot, 4/20

By Hadley Vandiver

Wyclef Jean, whose performance on Friday at CU-Boulder has been pitched as an alternative to the annual 4/20 smokeout on campus, has agreed to not directly mention marijuana or 4/20 during his show at the Coors Event Center.

The university’s March 1 contract with Jean shows that the hip-hop artist will be paid $80,000, and there is a clause prohibiting the pot references.

“The Agency shall ensure that the Attraction avoids making direct references to marijuana and other illegal drugs or make 4/20 related remarks as this is a University sponsored event.”

The University of Colorado Student Government partnered with Program Council to put on the concert. Jean has supported legalization of marijuana in the past, and his lyrics reference the drug in songs like “Something about Mary.”

When asked if specifically limiting the things that Jean could say at his performance was censoring, CUSG Vice President of Internal Affairs Carly Robinson said, “I don’t believe that would be censorship.”

By the way, the dictionary definition of censorship is “the practice of officially examining books, movies, etc., and suppressing unacceptable parts.”

Robinson also says that their limiting of speech is standard fare.

“We ask all university events to not talk about anything illegal,” Robinson says. “No university events are supposed to support illegal activities. That’s pretty much standard for our events.”

When asked if she knew of any other contracts prohibiting certain speech, Robinson said that she did not know of any.

“It’s not so much about censoring, we just wanted to give students an opportunity to have an event that’s not about 4/20,” Robinson says. “So we didn’t want it to become some kind of political concert where that’s what people were talking about while they were there, we really wanted it to be focused on his music and not about anything political.”

The $80,000 being used to fund the censored concert is completely funded by CU student fees, Robinson says. These fees come from CUSG Proper’s fund balance, which is approved by the CUSG Finance Board. When asked if CU students would support CUSG using their fee money to censor an artist, Robinson said, “I believe so.”

“There was a resolution passed through legislative council asking us to move 4/20 off our campus, and that’s what we are trying to do,” Robinson says. “And I believe that they would support our efforts in the way that we see fit.”

The signatories on the contract are CU purchasing agent David Turner, on behalf of the Board of Regents, and Jean’s agency, Carnival House Touring.