3OH!3: A Disappointing Choice for Campus

A few weeks ago, it was announced at my small Lutheran liberal arts college in small-town Minnesota that 3OH!3 would be performing at a concert on campus, that is open to the public, this spring. This is important to note, as Saint Peter residents are told this is a family concert. Many families have small children, and brought their kids to campus to enjoy Hunter Hayes a few years ago. Hence, this Gustavus-sponsored event usually aligns with Gustavus’ core values: embodying excellence, community (which includes mutual respect), justice (which includes an element moral responsibility and civil decorum), service, and faith.

If you are not familiar with 3OH!3’s past or recent music, it includes overt lyrics about rape culture, including, “Sush girl/Sush your lips/Do the Hellen Keller and talk with your hips,” “She’s on her knees over there/But it ain’t religion,” and “These children learn from cigarette burns, fast cars, fast women, and cheap drinks/It feels right/All these asphyxiated, self-medicated, take the white pill, you'll feel alright/Kill the lights.”

While I am all about supporting free speech in America, these lyrics do not align with Gustavus values and the gender equality ideals we supposedly embrace. This is a public concert for our community. The band choice reflects poorly on Gustavus, much less women.

To clarify my concerns, I emailed the Campus Activities Board, asking how this concert choice aligned with our values. They responded that 3OH!3 would only be able to play the radio edited versions, so the concert will be “family friendly.” However, the lyrics I quoted above ARE the radio edits. The profanity, while excessive in 3OH!3’s songs, isn't necessarily the most offensive element of their lyrics. It’s the meaning behind the words. Listen to the words! I mean, listen to what you want at your private gatherings, but these lyrics aren’t representative of our student body.

I also was surprised about this obscene choice because, months earlier when the student body voted on our preferences, a solo 3OH!3 concert was not even an option on the list. In the defense of the Campus Activities Board, they were included as a joint concert option with Sean Kingston or Jesse McCartney, but a plain 3OH!3 concert was not listed. And frankly, if they had been, I would have voted against them. All of a sudden, they became a solo act without being elected properly.

I wanted to see how other students at my college feel about a 3OH!3 performance, so I took an informal poll in a very college way – through Insta-Stories. It is true that this is a platform that sends to all of my Instagram friends, not just Gustavus students, however this is a public concert that any of my friends could attend. The results of my informal poll contradicted everything the campus activities board told me. Only 23% of those who voted on my Instagram poll thought 3OH!3 is a good choice for campus, while 77% considered them too sleazy for this campus as a family concert. This data stayed the same when I factored out Instagram friends who are not also Gusties. Additionally, when I added recent Gustavus alum back into the data (those the college is looking to for donations), only 18% of those current Gusties polled considered 30H!3 a good choice for Gustavus, and 0% of the recent alum polled viewed 3OH!3 as a good choice. This data is inconsistent with the supposed majority that the campus activities board said endorsed this band. Maybe Robert Mullner should interview them.

Anyway, who cares about data? Who cares about what the Campus Activities Board represented? The band is lewd beyond imagination. I’ve listened to hip hop/pop/rap that pales in comparison to the lyrics spewed forth by 3OH!3. I am disappointed that my college chose this incendiary band for a public concert. Many other artists on the list perform in a similar genre, and also produce popular music, without being downright offensive to both men and women. We need a different band.

(Editor's Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or views of Her Campus Gustavus)