The University Board chair is suspended for six weeks and will go through diversity training after students complained to UB members regarding the production, postings and promotion of “explicit” songs on the chair’s Sound Cloud page.
According to a press release sent out Monday, UB membership determined that the songs and raps that Dallas Lancense, the UB chair, produced were deemed “insensitive” and the UB determined it to be “unacceptable.”
“In recent weeks, the behavior and conduct of (Lancense) has been called into question which has been determined unacceptable and unbecoming of a member of University Board. (Lancense’s) production, postings and promotion of “explicit” songs/lyrical content on public display in social media has been deemed insensitive, discriminatory and offensive in nature to the UB membership and the EIU student body which is inconsistent with the representation, purpose and brand of University Board,” according to the press release.
However, Lancense said the entire situation has been a huge misunderstanding.
In an email Tuesday he said he understands why the decision was made and the procedure that was taken.
“University Board is an organization at its base value; to make sure the organization’s name isn’t tarnished is something that the board must do,” he said.
Mariah Marlar, the UB vice chair, said his songs that were published on SoundCloud but have since been taken down, were brought to her and other members’ attention during the first week of November, and she said they started to look into it.
Initially, she said members told Lancense to take down the material, but when he did not students kept coming back to ask about it, and she said as a board they decided that a suspension along with diversity training was needed.
She said the reason why students had a problem with the songs is because although they are his form of expression, he is a student leader and it was “unbecoming” of a leader.
“It put us in a tight position because we are a board that wants to show diversity and inclusion, but when someone is on the board and says those things it looks hypocritical,” she said. “He is the role model for UB; he has more weight on his shoulders.”
Lancenese said though he understands the procedure, he said he did not believe it was fair to take something this far out of context.
Though Marlar said his most recent posting was a year ago, Lancenese said the “issue matter” happened eight years ago when he was 13-years old and his early raps were satirical.
“The language used in these raps may have been offensive, but I was not using any terms in an offensive manner. I was taking what I heard every day, what I saw every day, how the community around me acted and spoke, and put it in to music,” he said. “Yes, the music may have been a bit outlandish, but people who know me know that, again, all of my early raps were satirical.”
Marlar said a suspension was the best form of discipline because she said although the situation was terrible, this is a good learning opportunity and should act as a wake-up call for Lancenese.
She said he will be attending diversity and inclusion training, but where he will go has yet to be determined.
Lancenese said because of the situation he has taken down all his raps.
He said he tries to understand all ways of life and said he said he apologizes for his content that may have offended anyone.
“I did not ever intend to offend anyone in anyway; I simply put my experiences that happened so long ago in the form of satire as much as a 13-year-old boy could do,” he said. “I do intend to continue making music because I use my music to break the barriers that have been created in my society. Again, I would like to apologize to anyone who has been offended by my content.”
Lancenese said moving forward he will take more action into learning about different cultures than his own and educating himself.
“I actively try to understand the changes in society so I can be ahead of the change. But even with that, I do believe that it is necessary to keep learning, to keep growing. Everyone should make it their initiative to learn as much as they can, every single day,” he said.
Marlar said all the coordinators on the UB, herself included, will determine whether or not Lancense can return as chair based on whether they believe he has changed.
As of right now, she said she will fill in as acting UB chair and vice chair and they stand by their decision to suspend him.
She said all of the scheduled UB events will continue as planned.
Analicia Haynes can be reached at 581-2812 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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