Marriott Cancels Protest Concert

Marriott Cancels Protest Concert
Posted by FoM on February 23, 2000 at 09:27:17 PT
Student Group Questions Motives 
Source: U-WIRE
A hip-hop concert at American University's Tavern intended to protest the U.S. drug war was canceled by Sodexho-Marriott on Tuesday evening and several AU students are concerned about Marriott's motives for canceling the show. The show, "No More Prisons," was intended to further address the issue of the war on drugs, but a few minutes after 8 p.m., AU Students for Sensible Drug Policy vice president Dave Epstein announced from the stage that the management staff of the Tavern would not allow the show to happen. 
"We had a hip-hop show planned," Epstein told a packed audience of several hundred, both concert-attendees and South side residents who had been temporarily displaced by a fire alarm, from the stage. "But Marriott Dining Services, a company that invests highly in private prisons, has determined that the show is not going to happen." Epstein was referring to Sodexho's 11 percent shareholding in the Corrections Corporation of America, a corporation that constructs private prisons. He said the cancellation "smacks of conspiracy." Sodexho-Marriott representatives said there was no bias against the concert's theme that influenced their decision to stop the show. Rather, the necessary papers to hold a concert arrived too late. "The Tavern reservation form arrived at noon Tuesday," Marc Hamlin, General Manager of Sodexho-Marriott Services said. "We had received verbal notification Friday from the SC that a group was trying to book a concert at the Tavern, but no details were known yet." Hamlin said that the Tavern reservation forms are due no later than two weeks before a show, but "we try to maintain some flexibility, but we can't accommodate with only a few hours notice." "We have to make sure we have the personnel for the restaurant to handle the crowd, we have to make sure we have Public Safety on hand," Hamlin said. "If it is a show being advertised off-campus [as this show was], then it must go to the Tavern Advisory Board." The policy is set forth by AU, not the Tavern, Hamlin said. "I was not even aware that Sodexho-Marriott invested in American private prisons until Tuesday night when it was announced from the stage," Hamlin said. The SSDP is welcome to hold another concert at the Tavern, he said. Epstein announced from the stage that the show was being moved to SSDP President Kate Sanders' house on Massachusetts Avenue. AUTO licensed drivers were secured, as well as volunteer drivers, to take an estimated 50 to 75 people up to the residence to see the performance go on. "[Marriott] told us about three hours ago at 4:30 that there wasn't going to be a show," Epstein said. "They said the paperwork wasn't straight even though we filed nearly a month ago." The show, held at Sanders' house and featuring hip-hop artists Lyric, El Batallion, and Apani, started at 10 p.m. and went on for approximately three hours. "We chose those artists because they were involved with stopping the drug war," SSDP communications coordinator Misty Shapiro said. "The artists had come down from New York that day, and were returning that night. We didn't want them to leave without doing a show." The artists also addressed the drug war from their set with audience dialogue before their sets, Shapiro said. At the Tavern, several representatives from both AU's and GW's SSDP, as well as the Drug Reform Coordination Network, were distributing pamphlets outlining the increased cost of imprisonment for this growing prison population, and the decrease in spending on education. The concert, scheduled to go on at 8 p.m., was the second event presented by AU's chapter of SSDP that day. Both events protested the US prison and jail population reaching two million inmates, which had been estimated to occur on or around Tuesday. Earlier that day, AU and George Washington University's chapters held a vigil at the front of the Capitol. GW SSDP president Kristy Gomes said that during the preparation of the show, there was confusion over whether it was the SC's or the SSDP's responsibility to inform the Tavern of the concert plans. She said the Tavern was unable to accommodate them despite several compromise offers by the two chapters, including paying workers overtime, or working themselves. "Obviously SSDP has no knowledge of any conspiracy by Sodexho-Marriott against us," Gomes said. "In order to uncover a conspiracy would take years of legal fighting, searching the Paris office headquarters, and other resources we don't have... but it raises a lot of questions." By Andrew MartelThe Eagle, American U.(U-WIRE) WashingtonPublished: February 21, 2000(C) 2000 The Eagle via U-WIRE  Copyright  1995-2000 Excite Inc. Students For Sensible Drug Policy Articles From U-WIRE & Students For Sensible Drug Policy:
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Comment #2 posted by Alexandre Oeming on February 24, 2000 at 07:15:18 PT:
...and neither do you
John, if you actually believe anything remotely coherent can come from continuing on our present course wrt drug policy, you are deluded. I can lay it out very simply: prohibition offers immense profits to those willing to risk themselves to supply an eager populace with their drugs of choice. These profits are large enough to corrupt our leaders, police, and moral values. The only way to destroy the black market and all the societal ills that come with it is to drop prohibition as the failure that it is and give the production and distribution of currently-illicit substances to legitimate businessfolk who will then offer up these substances as safely and economically-feasible as possible.There, see? I didn't have to insult anyone (unlike you) and my point is not only coherent, but makes perfect sense. Please open your eyes and think for yourself. We already have enough parrots for McCzar in the world.Out.
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Comment #1 posted by John T. on February 24, 2000 at 01:37:24 PT
glad the concert was cancelled. SSDP is a farce and a bunch of wimpy students who have no idea of the depths and complexties of the drug problem --- a problem that should be addressed coherently...not by legalizing!!!!
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