Students criticize Mikado play for cultural appropriation

Some students at Fort Hays State University (FHSU) in Kansas say a school-sponsored operetta production is not only “racist,” but also rife with “cultural appropriation.”

FHSU Music and Theatre describes its production of The Mikado as “a fun burlesque romp about the whimsy of love” on its Facebook page. According to the operetta’s description, the play takes place “in a mythical Japan,” where the main character “has been appointed Lord High Executioner and must find someone to execute before the arrival of the ruling Mikado.”

However, not all FHSU students were receptive to the operetta’s comedic nature, deeming it an offensive instance of cultural appropriation.

[RELATED: VIDEO: Cultural appropriation concerns ruin St. Patrick’s Day]

“[S]aw this on campus earlier this morning- CRAZY how blatant racism is still happening,” tweeted an FHSU student calling herself Fatima, attaching pictures of a vandalized poster for the operetta with the word “RACISM“ scrawled across it in permanent marker, along with a typed criticism of the event attached via tape.

“The Mikado is racist for many reasons so when I saw the Dr. Joseph Perniciaro picked this for the opera I was appalled. The Mikado is cultural appropriation, it is RACIST, it is ‘yellow-face,’ and it sure as hell shouldn’t be a production that still exists,” the page reads.

“To begin, the opera is about Japanese people… *BUT* … it is being performed here at Fort Hays State University with an all NON-ASIAN CAST,” the tirade continues, declaring that “All this production is, is an exaggeration of Japanese stereotypes.”

“This production was not okay when it was created and it definitely isn’t ok today – like COME ON, it’s 2018,” the response proclaims.

“I 100% SUPPORT THE PERSON WHO POSTED THESE THINGS,” FHSU student Anniston tweeted in response to the criticism, while Jay, another student, shared Fatima’s tweet, writing, “Expose them.”

[RELATED: Yoga is ‘cultural appropriation,’ Barnard event claims]

Other students, though, support the production wholeheartedly.

“Everyone in Hays needs to go see FHSU’s producti

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UMN tells students that privilege helps them level up

The University of Minnesota Foundation for Success has created a “Leveling Up” guide that uses video game terminology to help students understand the concept of “privilege.”

This month, the foundation posted fliers in all residence hall bathrooms encouraging students to consider themselves players in a role-playing video game and examine how their privilege has help them “level up” their lives. 

The Foundation for Success, which is overseen by the UMN Department of Housing & Residential Life,  aims to "help students achieve their personal and academic goals and become well-rounded individuals," and pledges that "each student will have an inclusive and engaged community experience" in UMN residence halls.

[RELATED: ‘White Privilege Checklist' appears in Minnesota dorm]

“Unfortunately, how society interacts with your identities also impact [sic] the opportunities you’ll have to ‘level up’” in life, the guide states, adding that “if you have a lot of privileged identities (white, straight, able bodied, cis-gender, wealthy, etc.) you'll be given the ability to 'level up' quicker than those who do not." 

The flyer then instructs students that they “have a responsibility in ensuring equitable consideration for all,” suggesting that those with privilege “share resources and information with others,” for instance by inviting a friend to come along “when you sign up to have your resume reviewed.”

Those who feel they lack privilege, on the other hand, are encouraged to broaden their social horizons in pursuit of professional advantage.

“Connect with someone outside your inner circle,” the document says. “Your usual group won’t provide many new opportunities, so befriend someone beyond your crowd to build your networks.”

The effort is consistent with what has become a broader campaign against “white privilege” on campus, and comes one year after the school’s defense of a “White Privilege” checklist that was distributed in the dorms. 

More recently, the University of Minnesota’s Women’s Center organized a “white supremacy” event earlier this year in response to a talk by a conservative commentator Ben Shapiro.Read more:

College defends decision to host Venezuelan officials

In a statement obtained by The Claremont Independent, Scripps College’s administration defended inviting two Venezuelan diplomats last week to speak about their totalitarian government’s  “grassroots initiatives.” 

This semester will be the second in a row that Scripps has invited Venezuelan officials to whitewash the country’s economic and human rights woes, with pro-Venezuelan regime speakers and a Venezuelan consul-general speaking last semester as well.

Despite the Independent pointing out in an editorial that Scripps refused to allow this publication to invite conservative speaker Andrew Klavan, Scripps has maintained that it invites speakers in an effort to “create an opportunity for dialogue.”

In an email statement, Carolyn Robles, the college’s interim executive director of marketing and communications, told the Independent that “Scripps College faculty often invites speakers to campus to augment course readings, create an opportunity for dialogue, and explore traditional and non-traditional perspectives on current and historical events.”

“The administration stands behind faculty members’ ability to sponsor these events as an expression of academic freedom and to encourage students to engage in the critical analysis of ideas and narratives that these speakers provide,” Robles continued. In events both this semester and last, exclusively pro-regime speakers have been invited to engage the students.

Robles pointed out that the college has brought conservative speakers to campus before through its Malott Public Affairs Program—a conservative speakers series—however, the program has not invited a speaker since November of 2016, nearly two years ago.

“The College offers additional opportunities to bring coursework to life and to explore complex social, political, and economic issues through programs like the conservative speaker series Malott Public Affairs, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in November 2016 with political commentator Norm Ornstein.”

The statement did not answer the Independent’s inquiry about whether or not Scripps intended to disinvite the Venezuelan diplomats, given widespread criticism by students and the general public. Four years ago, a similarly negative public sentiment led to the disinvitation of conservative columnist George Will.

The full st

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Duke students storm stage during alumni weekend speech

Students at Duke University interrupted their president’s alumni weekend speech on Saturday, demanding that he leave the stage and address their lengthy list of grievances.

According to The News and Observer, Duke University President Vincent Price’s speech was briefly interrupted when approximately 25 students stormed the stage with bullhorns and urged him to “get off the stage.”

During the 15-minute interruption, the demonstrators reportedly shouted their list of demands, which were met with a mixed response from the audience.

[RELATED: Duke prof suggests libertarians are 'on the autism spectrum']

The protesters’ demands included a $15 hourly wage for all Duke employees, open Board of Trustees meetings, loan-free financial aid, additional psychological counseling, increased funding for the Women’s center, a new designated community area for the disabled, additional hiring of diverse faculty members, and training programs that teach staff members how to better help student immigrants, the publication reported.  

The protesters also demanded that the school rename the Carr Building, a structure named for North Carolina industrialist Julian Carr, due to his white supremacist views and remarks. 

The students then expressed frustration with university officials, claiming that their drastic demonstration was necessary because administrators do not urgently respond to peaceful actions, according to The Duke Chronicle.

“We can send email after email and we can show up for public forums and talk about these issues, but the university doesn’t feel like there’s an urgency unless we are actively meeting them where they are and making it a spectacle and making it something where they can’t just push it into their spam box,” said protester Sidney Roberts.

Administrators at Duke, however, are reportedly not thrilled with the manner in which the students presented their demands last weekend. 

“Candidly, I think there were better ways to convey their concerns and I shared that with them as best I could,” Larry Moneta, vice president for student affairs, told the Chronicle.

[RELATED: Duke students rebuke prof for saying libertarians are autistic]

President Price also expressed his disagreement with the tactics used by the protesters in a Q&A session following his address to the alumni, saying, “I d

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Michigan State student gov shoots down American flag proposal

The Michigan State University student government recently shot down a proposal to install more U.S. flags on campus, arguing that Old Glory lacks inclusivity. 

The bill was introduced by MSU student senator Sergei Kelly, and would have added five flagpoles displaying both the American and Spartan flags at a cost of $12,000.

[RELATED: UC-Davis student gov votes against American flag]

“Michigan State University currently has 50,019 students admitted, with 38,996 undergraduate students over 15,000 of whom reside within residence halls on campus, throughout five separate campus neighborhoods where the residence halls are located, but no American or Spartan flags mounted on flagpoles exist in the neighborhoods,” the proposal stated.

The students who spearheaded the bill also conducted digital surveys to gauge the student body’s perception of American flags prior to formally introducing the measure, finding robust support for the idea.

According to the results of the poll, 67.3 percent of respondents said that they have a “positive” or “very positive” perception of the American flag, with 59.6 percent agreeing that the flag “represents all people in America.”

Similarly , when asked about the value of the U.S. flag, 72.1 percent said that the flag is “important” or “very important” to them.

The bill also received significant support from conservative clubs such as Turning Point USA and the College Republicans, as well as monetary donations from on-campus dormitories and the inter-fraternal council. 

Despite its support, however, the Associated Students of MSU’s finance committee defeated the bill by a 9-2 vote.

[RELATED: Veterans protest removal of American flag at Hampshire College]

“[W]hen the data was brought up people said it didn’t matter enough and they took much greater concern for the minority that were not in support,” Kelly observed in a personal recollection of the Associated Students meeting. “They also criticized me for not having a greater demographics section where they could see how ‘people of color&rsquo

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