According to CBC News, the Ottawa Congress Centre had agreed with student groups from Carleton University and the University of Ottawa to host "Rock the Vote," an event to encourage students to vote in the upcoming Ontario election.
Isaac Cockburn, vice president of student issues for the Carleton University Students' Association, told CBC News that the students were told the Ottawa Congress Centre has a policy against rap music and that Nas' lyrics promote violence.
Cockburn claimed that Peter Seguin, vice president of food and beverage for the centre, told him the centre has a policy banning hip-hop and rap.
"He in fact said that he'd had over 200 requests for hip-hop shows that he's turned down over the past couple of years," Cockburn explained. "He said that it was an increased security risk and that it was a vulnerability that the Congress Centre was not willing to take on."
Cockburn says the students had been negotiating with the centre about the event since July and did not think picking Nas would be an issue because the hard rock band Alexisonfire played there last September.
Lynne Martichenko, the Congress Centre's spokesperson, denied that neither Nas nor hip-hop was the problem. She said the event was not suitable for the Congress Centre room the students tried to book, which has new carpets and chandeliers.
She emphasized the center is designed for meetings, trade shows, and conventions. She also revealed that the students had not signed any contract with the Congress Centre and they should find a venue which was more appropriate.
Martichenko also mentioned the controversy caused by Nas' forthcoming performance at a memorial concert in Virginia Tech next month.
Earlier this year, Seung Hui-Cho, a Virginia Tech student, opened fire on several students and staff members of campus killing 32 people and then committing suicide.
Several families of the victims of the shooting say that Nas' inclusion to the event is disrespectful for the people killed, because of his violent lyrics.
Despite their complaints , Nas is still scheduled to perform at Virginia Tech on September 6 alongside the Dave Mathews Band and John Mayer.