The University of Michigan canceled a screening of "American Sniper" because it "made students feel unsafe."
According to the College Fix, more than 300 students protested the decision to screen the film because it advanced "negative and misleading stereotypes" against Muslims. The online petition was started by a "Palestinian solidarity group" called the Students Allied for Freedom and Equality and the Muslim Students' Association.
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"The movie American Sniper not only tolerates but promotes anti-Muslim … rhetoric and sympathizes with a mass killer," according to an online letter circulated among the campus community via Google Docs that garnered the signatures.
The signers were mostly students, but also some staff, as well as the Muslim Students’ Association and the president of Students Allied for Freedom and Equality, a Palestinian solidarity group at UMich.
The online memo, titled a "collective letter from Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) and Muslim students on campus," accused the public university of "tolerating dangerous anti-Muslim and anti-MENA propaganda" by showing the movie, the highest grossing film of 2014. […]
"Chris Kyle was a racist who took a disturbing stance on murdering Iraqi civilians," the collective letter stated. "Middle Eastern characters in the film are not lent an ounce of humanity and watching this movie is provocative and unsafe to MENA and Muslim students who are too often reminded of how little the media and world values their lives. … The University of Michigan should not participate in further perpetuating these negative and misleading stereotypes."
"While our intent was to show a film, the impact of the content was harmful, and made students feel unsafe and unwelcomed at our program," said the Center for Campus Involvement, the group that was putting on the film. "We deeply regret causing harm to members of our community, and appreciate the thoughtful feedback provided to us by students and staff alike."
"We have elected to pull the film from this week’s program and screen another movie in its place that we believe better creates the fun, engaging atmosphere we seek, without excluding valued members of our community."
Michigan instead chose to play Paddington Bear, a children's movie about a young bear from England in search of a new home.
Some students were upset that the university did not take a stand against "outrageous claims."
"It would be nice to see the university … take a stand against outrageous claims of ‘student exclusion,'" sophomore Jason Weaver told the College Fix. "The film American Sniper in no way creates student exclusion any more than Saving Private Ryan. Both show American soldiers at war, the atrocities of war, and the costs of war, yet I’m sure Saving Private Ryan would not illicit the same response. Just because the enemy in American Sniper shares ethnicity with students on campus does not mean they are conflated as the enemy any more than a German student should be conflated with Nazism."
The decision supports the findings of the Washington Free Beacon‘s David Rutz, who says that college campuses are now insufferable and terrible places.