Yoga group shutters after cultural appropriation complaint

  • American University student Maya Krishna complained to AU's President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion and wrote an op-ed after seeing a non-Indian group perform an Indian epic in the school's yoga club.
  • The yoga club's faculty adviser, as well as its student president and vice president, subsequently resigned their posts.

One student’s complaint of “cultural appropriation” led to the dissolution of a university’s Bhakti yoga group. 

American University student Maya Krishnan filed a complaint with the President’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion and wrote an op-ed in the student paper, The Eagle, after seeing a non-Indian group invited by American University’s Bhakti Yoga Club performing the Indian epic “The Ramayana,” according to ISKCON News

“Having my culture represented by an almost entirely white troupe of dancers is incredibly frustrating."   

The Bhakti Yoga Club’s faculty adviser, as well as its student president and vice president, all resigned from their posts amid backlash following the complaint and op-ed, rendering the group unrecognized by the university.

[RELATED: Gonzaga warns against ‘potentially harmful’ ‘cultural appropriation’]

“Having my culture represented by an almost entirely white troupe of dancers is incredibly frustrating,” Krishnan said in her op-ed. “Additionally, the director and other representatives of the theater company absolve themselves of cultural responsibility by saying that the point of the show is to increase exposure of Hinduism and its traditions.” 

The Bhakti Yoga Club had invited Viva Kultura, a multinational performing arts group, to perform"The Ramayana."

“The reality of this is that white European dancers will never know my intersectional experience as a Hindu woman, being a brown bodied person and the other aspects of systematic racism that I, as well as other South Asian people, have experienced,” Krishnan continued.

[RELATED: EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Utah admin calls cultural appropriation ‘the baby of racism and capitalism’]

The Bhakti Yoga club confirmed its dissolution to Campus Reform on Tuesday.

"The club has been shut down because immediately after Viva Kultura performed, our faculty advis[e]r resigned and president and vice president subsequently resigned as well," a representative told Campus Reform

The group added that another student is now leading the group in its attempt to restart and ISKCON's communications director, Anuttama Das, is serving as an adviser, according to ISKCON News. 

Das did not respond to a request for comment in time for publication.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @knelson1776 



STAY INFORMED
Get exclusive access to breaking CampusReform stories as they happen. Sign up below and we'll keep you in the loop.
 Weekly Digest

 Daily Emails

Kenneth Nelson

Kenny Nelson is an Intern and Campus Correspondent, and reports on liberal bias and abuse for Campus Reform. He attends Colorado State University, where he co-founded the Battering Ram, a student-run newspaper.

20 Articles by Kenneth Nelson