I must say, although I still do not believe that Ludacris is educational, culturally significant, or worth the $170,000 ETSU spent to get him here, Steven raises a very interesting point. See my additional comments at the end. –Jama

Dear Editor,
I found this quote from a poster on Jama Oliver’s web page, http://www.jamesoliver.us/jama/?p=6#comments, concerning the recent Ludacris disaster: “I, as well as a number of my friends, pay money for an education, not for concerts.”
Yes, you do. You pay for a certain type of culture: an area where the free exploration of ideas is not hindered by parents, authority figures and government watchdogs. An “education” is not just learning that Plato was Aristotle’s teacher. An education is the intellectual, emotional AND moral growth fostered by the interaction of ideas. This includes the interaction of my world-view with Karl Marx, G. H. W. Bush and, yes, Ludacris.
That nearly everyone might walk away from the concert sharing (for a time, at least) the Ludacris view on women is irrelevant, in the same way that the possibility of everyone leaving a Howard Zinn lecture an anarcho-socialist is irrelevant. What matters is that Ludacris (and Zinn) CAN come here on everyone’s dime.
Another quote from the poster: “The point is, if the ETSU SGA wants to have concerts, they need to get the money from the people who want to see the concert, not from every single student.”
The point is that you can’t have a society that values the free expression of ideas if, for those ideas to reach people, the public has to already value them so they can get the funds to express them.
I’m glad that my money supports the Campus Crusade for Christ AND the ETSU Feminist Club, because it’s only by getting society to listen to all varieties of opinions that people can grow.
Feeling threatened to explore or express an idea because of the perceived hostility of those around you is NOT conducive to intellectual growth.
Tailoring your idea to what the public already believes, so you can get the money to spread that very idea, is one of the most damaging things I can think of for a society that values the independence of mind. The universities are possibly the only places in the world that this restriction on the expression of ideas does not hold.
Emphasis is not (and should not be) given on the popularity or profitability of a subject, but its mere existence in the free market of ideas.
It’s not possible to develop intellectual curiosity and intellectual CONFIDENCE, which is the whole damn reason for universities anyway, if a feeling of deference to the ideas of the majority opinion are allowed to shape the way students experience the world.
Steven Edwards

I do wonder, however, if the pop duo Lynx and Lamb (white nationalist teenage girls who spread their hatred of non-whites through their music) would be equally as welcome at ETSU, or any other university. An interesting point is that white-nationalist musicians claim to be doing exactly the same thing that rap artists like Ludacris are doing – sharing and expanding their culture. I am certainly not comforable with either type of hate, be it toward women as with Ludacris or toward non-whites as with Lynx and Lamb.
There is a very distinct difference, however, between the introduction of the topic of hatred towards women as seen in rap music or hatred toward non-whites as seen in white nationalist music in the context of a classroom and actually paying those artists to come to the campus and perform a concert. I would agree that the best way to grow intellectually is to be exposed to ideas that differ from your own (I am, remember, a conservative christian majoring in philosophy at a secular university), however an on-campus orgie is not necessary to learn about sexual devience nor is a concert glorifying the most deviant side of African-American culture necessary to foster diversity or cultural awareness. Neither do I think that one can claim that the typical popular music concert is an environment conducive to a learning experience. If we want to be exposed to the rap music culture as an educational experience (which I seriously doubt is the goal of bringing Ludacris to campus), then lets offer a class on the topic. The fact of the matter is that Ludacris is coming to campus purely for entertainment purposes that have nothing to do with education or enhancing the educational or cultural environment as a whole. If it were an educational endeavor then the students wouldn’t be paying for it out of our “student activities fee”, which by law is to be used only for non-academic events. –Jama