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Hurley apologizes for UMW concert
UMW President Rick Hurley apologizes for weekend homecoming concert that bothered some neighbors

View VIDEO from the concert.


Date published: 10/25/2010

BY JEFF BRANSCOME

University of Mary Washington President Rick Hurley is apologizing for what he called "extreme profanity" at an outdoor homecoming concert Saturday night.

Hurley said three residents complained to him about explicit lyrics from Washington rapper Wale. Students voted to have Wale perform.

The homecoming concert started at 7:30 p.m. at the Battleground Athletic Complex on Hanover Street. The event concluded at 9 p.m. with fireworks.

"I am sorry that a high-spirited weekend on campus ended on such a negative note for some of our closest neighbors who were offended by both the volume and the content of the music," Hurley wrote yesterday in a letter to the editor of The Free Lance-Star.

Wale also has performed at George Washington University, the University of Virginia, Washington & Lee University and James Madison University.

UMW has received noise complaints during past homecomings, but Hurley said he's "more upset about the use of the profanity" this year. The university would've held the concert indoors if it had known about the performer's lyrics, he said.

UMW is building the Anderson Center, a multi-use facility that will seat more than 2,500 for concerts and other events. It is scheduled to be finished in the spring.

Hurley wouldn't rule out future outdoor concerts, but he said the university will research bands before determining a location.

"If there's a crowd-friendly band like Train, maybe an outdoor concert would be appropriate," he said.

Jeff Branscome: 540/374-5402
Email: jbranscome@freelancestar.com


This past weekend the University of Mary Washington celebrated Homecoming, which is built around a series of athletic events on Saturday. The weekend was highlighted by victories of the men's rugby team over VMI, the men's soccer team over Hood and the women's field hockey team over York. Many alumni traveled back to campus to share in the jubilant Mary Washington spirit while enjoying the beautiful fall weather.

One of our homecoming traditions is a Saturday evening concert and fireworks show. This aspect of the weekend is managed by our students, and the concert band is hired by Giant Productions, the student group that is responsible for such bookings. In response to a student survey in which over 1,000 students expressed support for the proposed band, the group was contracted to perform at homecoming. This band currently is very popular on the campus circuit having performed most recently at George Washington University, the University of Virginia, Washington & Lee, as well as James Madison University. Unfortunately, the Saturday evening performance proved to be disruptive to some of our adjacent neighborhoods. Not only was the music extremely loud, but the language contained in the lyrics was upsetting to those who would not choose to attend a concert of this nature.

I am sorry that a high-spirited weekend on campus ended on such a negative note for some of our closest neighbors who were offended by both the volume and the content of the music. As a member of this community, I understand these concerns. As president, I am committed to a strong, positive working relationship with the citizens of our city and region, and I apologize on behalf of the university for this occurrence.

The university has been limited in the past by an inadequate indoor venue for such events. I'm pleased that the new Anderson Center, with an arena capable of seating more than 2,500 people for concerts, will open in 2011. For the first time in Mary Washington's history, we will have an outstanding alternate solution for certain large concerts. While some university events are appropriate for an outdoor venue, this past Saturday evening's concert would have better served our entire community being held indoors if such space had been available. We look forward to the opening of the Anderson Center so that we will have both indoor and outdoor options for our events.

Richard V. Hurley

UMW President