Friday, April 24, 2015

The immense shame at the University of Maryland

The University of Maryland has cancelled a screening of the movie American Sniper in response to "complaints by Muslim students."
"The Muslim Students Association at the University of Maryland started a petition requesting that the school pull the screening of American Sniper. In the petition, the group stated that the film “perpetuates the spread of Islamaphobia and is offensive to many Muslims around the world for good reason.” 

Ironically enough, the group also requested that students “exercise their freedom of speech” by signing the petition to remove the film from campus." - Amy Lutz
In response to the petition (which apparently gathered 318 signatures), the screening was cancelled, or (as described by the University's Student Entertainment Events), "postponed... after meeting with concerned student organizations. SEE is choosing to explore the proactive measures of working with others during the coming months to possibly create an event where students can engage in constructive and moderated dialogues about the controversial topics proposed in the film."

This, no matter from which angle it is examined, is nothing but brutal art censorship, and not only does the Muslim Students Association at the University of Maryland now joins the notorious club of North Korea, Cuba, China, etc. in using suppression techniques in shutting down something that they oppose (for whatever reason), but more concerning, it shows an absolute lack of understanding and immense intellectual dishonesty by these Muslim Terps for the common American values of freedom of speech, inclusion, discussion and constructive engagement, rather than brutal suppression.

The issues that Muslim Students Association at the University of Maryland has with American Sniper may be valid to some of its members and certainly at least 318 people on the Maryland campus, but their demand is not only disturbing and very scary, but also a complete failure at understanding how they could have pursued an acceptable course of action to express their views on the film without the brutal boot of censorship.

Muslim Terps could have held a protest outside the film screenings, they could have authored an opinion piece in the school's paper, they could have held discussions on the issue, etc. These are all constructive and acceptable means to express a difference of opinion about a film, a work of art, or anything else that draws out more than one pro/con opinion.

But the real shame here, the disturbing and reprehensible side to this story, is how the University appears to have folded in this case, rather than using this issue as a constructive teaching event to show all 318 censors, how differences of opinion are handled in free speech societies.

Shame on you Maryland.

What can we do? Express your opinion respectfully to:

Dr. Wallace D. Loh
University of Maryland
1101 Main Administration Building
College Park, MD 20742-6105
Phone: 301.405.5803
Email the President:


John said...

I hope you will follow up on this topic and not let it be ignored. This is important and needs to be a front page issue for more than just one day. Thanks for the post.

Anonymous said...

As a Terp alumni, I am so disappointed in UMD.


Anonymous said...



Anonymous said...

Shame, shame, shame!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Almost impossible to believe...


Anonymous said...

Stupid decisions such as the one UMD made in this case only fuels the right wing's claims of bias at academia.