Four students were arrested last week at a Michigan university after interrupting a viewing of the renowned film American Sniper, citing “cultural appropriation.” The disruption caused a second viewing to be cancelled.
A showing of the film at Eastern Michigan University (EMU), about 35 miles west of Detroit, was interrupted last Friday when Ahmed Abbas, Layali Alsadah, Jenna Hamed, and Sabreen Dari led a group of 35 other students to shut it down..
Though the showing continued after the protesters were removed, a second was cancelled because the first ran late.
“Once the film started the protesters moved into the theater and disrupted the movie. Department of Public Safety officers were summoned and the protesters were given several warnings. Four protesters were arrested and released shortly thereafter without any charges being sought,” EMU spokesperson Geoff Larcom told Campus Reform.
One of the lead protesters passionately expressed his dismay.
“We are never allowed to challenge [the administration]. When we do, we get arrested and we are taken in,” Abbas told the Eastern Echo, the university’s official newspaper. “That is the issue here that we have. [The] administration that says Campus Life is supposed to be about students [and students] have no right to challenge them in what we want and what we should be watching.”
“They don’t care about student dignity or respect,” Abbas added. “That is our mission. Moving forward from today in the weeks ahead we are going to be in meetings. This is a chance to get what students want.”
Abbas also told the university paper that black and Jewish communities showed concern when Tropic Thunder and Passion of the Christ were shown on campus:
The reality is, this is about a process of not allowing cultural appropriation for the movies being allowed into the university…This is not about freedom of speech, this is not about freedom of expression, this is about public safety and people being respected with dignity. That’s the reality – that’s why we’re here. If you want to voice yourself, students shouldn’t be protesting.
Student Body President Desmond Miller told the Echo that the decision to show the film was made by him, other members of the board, and other school officials.
“The conversation we had wanted to make sure student safety was at the forefront. We wanted to make sure whatever happens, students would be safe,” Miller said. “The second part of it, which is actually just as important as the first part, was making sure we have a very serious dialogue about the movie and the propaganda associated with this movie.”
h/t: Top Right News
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth