Aaron Jones | Staff Writer
The Talley Ballroom made to accommodate 1200 guests looked spacious in comparison to the small crowd of some 50 students and faculty members who attended the Rally for Talley, Friday. The rally, organized in response to the sudden cancellation of the Pan Afrikan concert featuring Migos and Pusha T, featured open-minded dialogue and provided students with a forum to express their frustrations.
Among those students was Dechia Adesegun, Black Students Board (BSB) Chair. “That concert is not the reason you all are here today,” said Adesegun. “The concert was just a segway into the overarching issues we have with the N.C. State Administration from the African-American community.” Adesegun, along with other members of BSB, were responsible for the planning of the Pan Afrikan concert and other Pan Afrikan events, however, she, nor other members of BSB were included in initial meetings about the cancellation of the concert. Students in agreeance with Adesegun placed tape over their mouth at the rally to represent the silencing of their voices.
Friday’s rally drew in reporters from ABC 11 News and support from several student leaders from the Afrikan American Student Advisory Council (AASAC), Student Government and the LGBT center as well.
Marshall Anthony, Chairperson for AASAC, and Amira Alexander, BSB Second Vice Chair, sat center stage for a majority of the event, both addressing questions and concerns. Anthony suggested that students and administrators could build better partnerships by meeting on a regular basis. “Student organizations have to do our part in being consistent and showing the administration that we care about issues across the board,” said Anthony. “We care about social issues like the concert, but we also care about academic and professional issues.”
In an interview with WNCN News Alexander said, “Pan-Afrikan week is a 44th annual event. We do this every year as a celebration of the African-American culture and it’s like you are purposely destroying that culture by saying we’re yanking this event out.”
During the rally, African-American students discussed challenges encountered at a PWI and instances that they have felt distressed and uncomfortable here at N.C. State. “I feel challenged to find my place,” said one attendee. “When I walk in to my classes I don’t see anyone that looks like me. I feel as though I have to work twice as hard and be twice as cognizant of everything I do, what I say, and how I convey myself, things that others may not feel as pressured to think about.”
N.C. State Vice Provost of Student Leadership & Engagement, Mike Giancola, attended the rally and addressed several questions regarding factors that led to the concert cancellation. According to Giancola, Student Involvement staff was made aware of the Migos shooting on Wed. April 2. A meeting was held that afternoon.“Things happened so quickly,” said Giancola. “We didn’t know what happened in Miami, or the motivations of the people that shot. It was from that frame of mind that the recommendation was that we not continue the concert,” he said.
Giancola said information of gang affiliation came from campus police and that it was “their recommendation that they didn’t feel like it was safe.” According to campus police, the same protocol is used to assess the risks factors for every event. Despite this, Pusha T denied any affiliations with a gang from his official Twitter account on April 3 tweeting “@NCState can u pls stop with the gang affiliation rumors?”
In a meeting that took place on Monday afternoon Adesegun, along with other student leaders and administration met to discuss the situation. “The main issue that came across was opening up the lines of communication,” said Adesegun. “We want the African-American community to know that we can’t just speak about problems amongst ourselves, but with people with more power on the university level. The administration is respectful and they’ll hear us out.”