In light of property damage and the arrest of eight people outside a concert on campus last weekend, Lincoln University's leadership said it will probably change how security is handled at events and consider whether to have the general public at some events.
What LU officials previously described as an "unruly" crowd developed the night of Oct. 19, outside a homecoming weekend concert at LU's Jason Gym; the concert featured artists Megan Thee Stallion and Li'l Boosie.
Officials said the line outside the venue initially moved smoothly, but once barricades were moved to allow emergency medical personnel to assist intoxicated individuals, fights broke out as people cut in line or reportedly stole tickets. Pushing from people in the back also dangerously pressed people against the door.
Ultimately, further entry into the gym was closed, and law enforcement used pepper spray to disperse the crowd.
A bike rack being used as a metal barricade, a trash can and the main doors to Jason Gym were damaged.
Carlos Graham, chief of staff for LU President Jerald Woolfolk, said Friday the damage to the bike rack and trash can together cost about $150. Though he did not immediately know what it cost to fix the doors, he said, all together, he would consider the property damage to be minor.
LU Police Chief Gary Hill said Thursday there was no interior damage to Jason Gym.
"Nobody inside even knew what was going on outside," Graham said. He also said both concert acts took the stage without any problems inside.
"We have experience with having concerts," Woolfolk said Thursday, to which Hill agreed. "Lincoln has been having concerts for years and years at homecoming, and to my knowledge, we've never seen anything quite like this."
She later said: "All this was on the outside. The show was sold out, and people being engaged in inappropriate activity on the outside, it caused some of the problems that we had."
Hill said intoxicated people were the problem last weekend. He did not know where those intoxicated people may have gotten their alcohol, and he noted no alcohol is sold on campus.
Individuals from outside LU showed up at the concert without tickets and expected to get in, which caused the issues, Graham said.
He said he did not think the late hours of the concert and accompanying party (10 p.m.-3 a.m.), the event being open on Eventbrite to a larger audience or the specific artists who were booked contributed to what happened.
Torrence Hatch Jr., whose stage name is Li'l Boosie or Boosie Badazz, has a criminal record that includes prison sentences for drug and firearm charges — as well as a federal charge for first-degree murder, for which he was found not guilty, according to entertainment media outlets.
Li'l Boosie/Boosie Badazz has released at least two songs — 2016's "F*** the Police" and 2017's "F*** the Police X 10" — that are violently critical of law enforcement to the point of including lines such as "We need to be like Khaled n****s, and kill cops," and "They ask me how I feel 'bout the cops gettin' shot, Eye for eye, two for two." Other lyrics in "X 10" also explicitly threaten rape.
The top 10 most popular songs on Boosie Badazz's artist page on the popular Spotify streaming music service do not include either anti-police song — the most popular on the list being "Wipe Me Down."
Woolfolk said Friday: "Li'l Boosie I had heard of because he's been around a long time, but the choice (of the concert act) was that of the students, and that's why they pay their activity fee, and that's what they chose for the concert, in conjunction with the student affairs people who work directly with them. And so, usually, it is their choice, unless it's just something outrageous; then we think, if it's inappropriate for the university, then we would weigh in on that. But as I recall, you had to be 18 and over in order to get into the show."
When asked if she was comfortable with the selection of Li'l Boosie, Woolfolk said: "It was not my job to select the artist. Again, it's a student-funded event. Li'l Boosie plays all over the country. There are a lot of acts that, you know, I may not agree with, or you may not agree with," but regardless of the music, she did not think it resulted in anything that happened on campus, "because again, nothing occurred in the concert itself."
Woolfolk said income from concerts goes back into the student activity fee fund. Artists are also paid through the university's student activity fee.
Woolfolk said, "Students manage that money with our assistance, and they decide what they want, the activities they want to have. The Campus Activity Board, they decide what activities they want to have, and this is their fund, this is their account to fund those activities with. They are part of the university, but it is a specific fee that is designated for their activities."
In terms of how concerts are booked, Associate Vice President Dean of Students Miron Billingsley said students fill out a survey and identify a list of entertainers they'd like to see.
"From that point, the vice president of student affairs along with a committee" select artists, try to meet with promoters and try to negotiate to get a particular artist to come, Billingsley said.
Graham said final approval for concert acts on campus is given by the president of the university — after going through the Campus Activity Board, after which it goes to the vice president for student affairs, "then it will go to legal because it's a contract. Then legal will send it, after they've read it, made some changes to the rider or whatever, then it will to the president for her final signature."
The Campus Activity Board is made up of student members selected annually by the university's Student Government Association.
Woolfolk said her understanding from Marcus Chanay, vice president for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, was that the all-inclusive cost of booking Li'l Boosie was $25,000, and Megan Thee Stallion's booking cost $30,000, all-inclusive.
Student tickets for the concert cost $20, and general admission tickets cost $35. About 2,300 tickets had been sold for the concert.
Woolfolk said Friday of Megan Thee Stallion: "I understand she's very popular, and when we booked her, it was my understanding that we got her for such a low price, and three weeks later, she had signed with Jay-Z, and now she goes (in bookings) for $125,000."
"I had not heard of her before then, because I'm just not in that generation, but I understand that she's an A-list artist," she said.
Megan Thee Stallion has sexually explicit lyrics that may make some people uncomfortable — with songs such as "Sex Talk" and "Big Ole Freak" — though she's been described by Tidal in a list of raunchy women in hip-hop as someone who "unapologetically embraces her sexuality as passionately as she embraces her bars — carrying on the grand tradition of female rappers who push boundaries while making timeless records." Tidal is a streaming service owned by Jay-Z.
A music review by digital media and broadcasting company VICE has described one of her songs, "Pimpin," as painting a picture of a woman "who enjoys sex for her own pleasure and doesn't put the needs of men above her own," and Stallion herself as "part of a whole wave of women, from Cardi B and Princess Nokia to City Girls, Saweetie, and Rico Nasty, whose lyrics offer new perspectives on what it's like to be a woman in an era where new generations are remaking the rules."
Advertising for the event on LU's website clearly stated: "Tickets will not be sold at the door." As of Friday, that policy was not stated on the Eventbrite ticketing website for the event — where the general public purchased tickets — but it's difficult to know for sure what details may have been posted before the event, as those details were no longer available on the site.
The consensus among LU officials is it was members of the general public, and not LU students, who caused issues last weekend.
"This is not Lincoln University students. Our students who were able to get in had a wonderful time. These were members of the general public (who caused issues)," Woolfolk said Thursday.
When asked whether the public would be allowed at certain events in the future, Woolfolk said, "That is definitely something that we're going to have to consider. It's difficult because we are a community, we're not just Lincoln on an isolated island, and we want to be able to share our events with the entire community. And we don't want to make a decision based on one event, and the actions of a few, because we have speakers on campus all the time. We have had artists on campus before, and people come from all over the city and outside the city, and we've never had this type of activity."
In terms of logistics at events, Hill said he has had discussions with off-campus law enforcement since last weekend. "What I decided we would do is we wouldn't take check-in at the same place that we're doing the metal detectors. That would probably be the only thing that we're changing."
He meant that check-in for tickets, receiving wristbands or taking tickets would be done at a different location than having people walk through metal detectors. He said having metal detectors is standard for when the general public is on campus: "We pretty much know who our students are, but when the general public comes onto our campus, I don't like that added (uncertainty) of me not knowing who they are, coming onto our campus."
In preparation for large events on campus such as homecoming, Hill said, "I'd rather have more than not enough (officers). We'll put our entire staff on. We have 13 sworn officers, but we had to have two work in the daytime (last weekend), so that left us at 10, 11 for that night. And then the sheriff's office brought over 20 that night and the night before, and then we used 15 private security guards to watch our doors and things like that, so that the sworn law enforcement personnel can handle all the, if any, criminal activity or people having problems with other people — things that go on on an everyday basis."
He said private security's jurisdiction is limited to the specific locations they are placed.
"Prior to the events, we do a briefing — a safety briefing with emergency medical services, with the other law enforcement, with the rules of the engagement for the security officers as well — just to make sure that we're all on the same page, they have their rules of engagement as far as what their actual duties are. We do a pretty thorough job as far as getting everybody prepared for our events."
Graham, a Jefferson City councilman, said he doesn't think the Jefferson City Police Department nor Cole County Sheriff's Office charges LU for their services. "Law enforcement does not charge us to provide security," Graham said.
Woolfolk said, "We are proud of the work of our LUPD, our police department, and we are proud to be partners with the other law enforcement agencies in the area, particularly Cole County and Jefferson City PD, and we thank them for being partners with us and helping us."
She added Friday: "This concert was a positive thing for the university because we brought in a top-starring (act). Things just kind of went awry. We want to move on past that and plan for next year's activities."
In terms of any criminal charges after last weekend's arrests, Cole County Prosecutor Locke Thompson said his office is continuing to evaluate the information they have been given. As of Friday afternoon, no formal charges had been filed against the eight people arrested last weekend.
Reporter Jeff Haldiman contributed to this story.
This article was edited at 4 p.m. Oct. 29, 2019, to correct the date of the concert.