Thursday, February 01, 2007


Kevin Bacon fans might recall one of his early films about a group of teenagers breaking their town’s “No Dancing” ban. If they do, this copyrighted story by Susanna Smith in today’s Searcy Daily Citizen may bring back memories. HISTORY HAS BEEN MADE AT HARDING.

The story says, in part:

What began as a traditional Harding concert Friday night ended with a bit of controversy when part of the audience of HU students took the stage and danced to song, “Shake your Hips.”

The event at the private Christian school had garnered statewide media attention by Wednesday, including an entry on the Arkansas Times blog.

Robert Randolph & the Family Band, known for its audience participation, was hosted by Harding in the Benson Auditorium with Amsterband as the opening band. As each invited member of the audience climbed on stage, a student member of the Benson House Management Team for the Campus Activities Board escorted the individual off the stage.

Finally, Randolph challenged the audience saying that the Campus Activities Board could not kick everyone off if the whole audience jumped on stage. Several students jumped on stage to dance, against the wishes of the Campus Activities Board and a Harding Security person.

Zach Neal, director of campus life, said he was concerned about the “spirit of rebellion” present Friday night.

“People understood there was not to be dancing; people understood they were not to be on stage,” Neal said.

Neal had instructed the student members of the Management Team to tell the audience, “Don’t touch the stage.”

Neal said another concern was the approximately $100,000 worth of equipment and production materials that Harding was liable for.

“No other venues like ours allow people on stage,” Neal said.

Near the end of “Shake your Hips,” Neal approached
Randolph on stage and bent down to tell him, “If you keep this up, we’re pulling the plug.” Randolph complied and the audience left the stage at the end of the song.

During Jason Crosby’s piano solo, Neal met with the band’s tour manager concerning a possible breach of contract. The tour manager agreed that
Randolph’s actions could possibly be a breach of Harding’s addendum to the performance contract.

Dr. David Burks, HU president, said he was disappointed in the band because they violated the terms of coming to Harding.

“We have a specific rider that spells out expectations,” Burks said. “They expressly violated it when [
Randolph] repeatedly invited people on stage.”

Though the contract says nothing regarding inviting students on stage, the contract does state that “The school permits no dances.”

Videos of the event have been uploaded onto and several facebook groups have been formed discussing the controversy.

The full article may be read for a limited time at .



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