Officials at the University of Northern Iowa have pulled non-student tickets to the upcoming Waka Flocka Flame show, citing “potential gang members” may be in attendance.
The show, which was put together by the student group Campus Activities Board, is slated to take place on Saturday, February 16 at the Maucker Ballroom on the UNI campus. While the concert was originally open to both students and the public, administration officials told CAB that the public could no longer buy tickets and those who purchased seats already would be refunded. Additionally, the concert would be moved to the Nielson Field House.
CAB Advisor Ashley Adams said that the university never intervened for a concert like this before, cut off public ticketing, or changed the venue. She told The Courier that the public tickets were removed for the safety and security concerns of students. UNI’s Office of University Relations Director Cassie Mathes said the university received information from local law enforcement about potential gang members wanting to attend the show. While she didn’t know the “level of detail” or specific concerns or threats, she noted these groups would “present a security risk.”
However, some students believe that this ticketing change could be due to racial bias. One student senator, Mahlia Brown, told The Courier that other CAB concerts haven’t had this issue. Ahead of the show, she said administration has not been transparent, giving little detail as to why they stepped in and eliminated public tickets.
“It seems whenever there is a black artist that comes on campus, this occurs,” Brown said.
Brown, as well as other student senators on the Northern Iowa State Student Government, drafted a resolution to the administration, requesting that the concert be moved back to its original location and tickets be re-released to the public.
“Students of color felt disparaged since a black performer has not come to UNI’s campus in years and now they are met with complications and fear,” Brown wrote in a statement on Twitter. “At the meeting today, it was concluded that public tickets would not be reopened and the only thing that would be fixed would be opening up more student ticket sales.
“As a student of color, the perception of these actions shows the fear that the university has of the Waterloo community and it is a concerning message being sent to incoming students.”
During an interview with the student newspaper The Northern Iowan yesterday, UNI President Mark Nook said that he wanted to apologize on behalf of the administration that that students felt like there was an “underlying institutional racism perception.” According to Mathes, the president said that he wants to be clear with students that race was not driving this particular situation. She noted that “the administration here has to sometimes make difficult decisions with the safety and security of our students in mind.”
As of Tuesday, the Waka Flocka Flame concert has been moved back to UNI’s Maucker Union. While tickets are still not available to the public, students can purchase up to two tickets and are allowed one guest.