By Darcy Reddan
Despite Sam Lachow’s removal from the first annual Hazfest on Sept. 13, University Police said the artist is not banned from the campus. Lachow was removed because of disparaging remarks he made about the university and its police department at last year’s spring concert.
Kate Waage, the marketing coordinator for student dining services and New Paltz alumna, designed Hazfest “to have fun and support local talent,” and Lachow was a “potential risk.”
“One of my interns brought to my attention Sam Lachow,” Waage said. “I thought it was a great idea at first, but when the flyers went out it was brought to my attention that he had a history at this school and had made comments. The video was actually available right on YouTube.”
In the YouTube video, Lachow begins by talking about his little brother Charlie, but his focus changes during the clip. He goes on to call out the university for kicking him out and goes on to drop f-bombs against the police force.
Waage said she reached out to Student Activities and Union Services as well as UPD in order to re-evaluate the scheduled entertainment. One week before the performance, Waage made the decision to remove Lachow and have New Paltz’s own Bounce Method (who were scheduled to perform with Lachow as they did at the spring concert) as the only entertainment.
Last spring, Lachow was given the opportunity to open up for rapper Wale, where he focused his attention on UPD during his performance. Lachow, still unhappy with how he was kicked out of the college, said he saw it as an opportunity to speak out against the authorities who he felt animosity towards.
Lachow said he thought it was funny that the college that kicked him out asked him to come back and perform. He saw the show as his opportunity to speak about his experience, fully aware that the police would hear what he had to say.
This incident was enough to discourage Sodexo and student dining services from having him perform at Hazfest, a new “homecoming style” event to help first-semester students become acclimated with campus along with some live entertainment, according to Waage.
“We thought of it as a homecoming for freshmen and we didn’t want any questionable behavior,” said Waage. “We wanted to have a good time, not take a risk. My job is to eliminate that potential risk and so the decision was made, unanimously, with the consultation of Police Chief David Dugatkin.”
Chief Dugatkin said that there is no ban on Lachow for what he said, which would infringe upon first amendment rights.
“I was actually surprised when they asked me to perform again,” said Lachow. “I thought I kind of signed that privilege away when I said all that stuff.”
None of this stopped Lachow from having a show the same night at Oasis bar on Main Street for fans in New Paltz who were hyped-up and then deflated by his Hazfest debacle. Lachow performed a short set that lasted roughly 35 minutes as a consolation to those who were let down by his removal. Lachow was joined by SUNY New Paltz alumni DJ Zev and Raz, a friend and fellow rapper from Seattle who he collaborated with on his new EP, “Five Good Reasons.”
Despite his strong following in New Paltz, Waage said that Lachow’s future relationship with the college is dependent on him.
“Perhaps down the road he’ll change his ways but right now were not bringing him back on our own dollar.”