Common To Visit to UCI

While UC Irvine was either reeling over confirmation of Obama’s commencement speech or embroiled in finals, the Office of Student Affairs quietly updated the New Narratives website with the announcement that rapper Common would be the next speaker in the New Narratives series.
Titled “Common Conversations,” the dialogue with Common is set to take place at the Bren Events Center during Week 2 on Thursday, April 10.
“It is our hope that Common will address race, culture, sexual orientation, etc. and talk about his role as an artist and how he can and has influenced society in his leadership role in the world of entertainment,” Fred Lipscomb, a representative from the Office of Student Affairs, said.
Past events intended to improve students’ cultural competency; the Office of Student Affairs has hosted guests such as UCI’s own Dr. Jared Sexton, chair of the African-American studies department, and BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey.
Common was a natural next choice for the committee, having already performed a concert at the Bren in August 2010 and, according to Lipscomb, being well-received when speaking to college campuses.
“The committee under the direction of Vice Chancellor Thomas Parham was charged to look for someone who was current, popular amongst our student population, familiar with our campus, and understood the importance of diversity on a university campus,” Lipscomb said.
Before the general event, there will also be an invite-only dialogue between Common and approximately 50 student leaders. That invitation reads as follows:
“The CCC and the Office of the Vice Chancellor are looking for a diverse group of strong, student leaders who can engage in a healthy, honest discussion with Common on issues that are both positively and negatively affecting our society and its youth.”
The invite implicitly acknowledges the difficulty with which some topics can be addressed in the general question and answer section set to follow Common’s speech. The invitation also betrays that “Common Conversations” is set to continue the trend for New Narratives events to address on broader racial topics. During previous New Narratives events, discussion of racial issues specific to UCI have had to be prompted by student inquiry.
Tickets are free with a student ID card and are available from either the Student Government or Student Life & Leadership offices. Guest tickets are $10 and will be available on the New Narratives website. Tickets can be obtained beginning this Friday, April 4.