With growing attention being paid to the Spring Fling Committee’s selection of the Ying Yang Twins as a performer at this year’s Spring Fling, we, as members of the Spring Fling Committee executive board, wish to address a number of issues that have been raised and explain our selection of the Ying Yang Twins.
First, we would like to clarify that the views expressed in Avinash Gandhi’s recent letter (“Reason to protest,” April 14) are his alone and by no means reflect the views of the Spring Fling Committee.
Deciding who performs at Spring Fling is a process with few set rules. Over the course of almost two semesters, the Committee thoroughly reviews no fewer than 100 artists; hundreds are at least briefly considered. Surveys are conducted to determine both the popularity and the favorability of artists in the student body. The Committee then evaluates each artist using these results as well as other factors including price, name recognition, live performance, and genre. For most artists, the evaluation focuses solely on their entertainment value; some artists, however, merit special consideration for an additional factor: offensiveness.
Of the many artists the Committee considered this year, many were deemed offensive, in that they had at least one offensive song (Please note this designation is not meant to imply anything about the artists themselves). Of the artists we considered offensive, most were hip-hop artists, and most hip-hop artists we considered were offensive.
While we considered a few hip-hop artists who were not offensive, when we evaluated all of the hip-hop artists solely based on entertainment value and cost, the Ying Yang Twins were clearly the best choice. In addition, though we considered the Ying Yang Twins offensive, we concluded that the group was not too offensive to prevent our selection. Unlike some offensive artists, the Ying Yang Twins do not advocate the commission of specific criminal acts, the standard that we have generally used for disqualifying acts.
This ultimate selection of the Ying Yang Twins had wide support among the Committee, including many female and minority members. No member voiced any personal offense to the lyrics of any Ying Yang Twins song. While we do not present this as evidence that the Ying Yang Twins are not offensive, we do think it suggests that, while the Ying Yang Twins may appear offensive, most who listen to their music, regardless of whether they are fans, understand that the songs are too ridiculous to be taken at face value. We do not believe, for instance, that any student will be swayed by their songs to degrade a woman without her consent, and, as such, we are not concerned by the offensive nature of their songs.
To those of you who are offended by our selection of the Ying Yang Twins: We encourage you to apply to join the Committee next year. Our goal is to have a diverse committee that represents as many students as possible. While we cannot guarantee your opinion will carry the day, we can guarantee that, like every other member, you will have your opportunity to be heard.
Michael Chao, Pete Croughan, Avinash Gandhi, Ege Gurdeniz, Thomas B. Meyer, Sahar Omrani, Kristina Tremonti and Mathilde Williams
The writers are members of the Spring Fling Committee executive board.