UPDATE: Michigan to screen American Sniper after initially canceling showing
The University of Michigan (U-M) has decided to show American Sniper in an “appropriate space” after initially canceling the showing of the film because of complaints.
We're planning to show American Sniper in a separate forum that provides an appropriate space for dialogue & reflection. More info to come.— Campus Involvement (@UMInvolvement) April 8, 2015
U-M officials originally cancelled a screening of the box office hit ‘American Sniper’ Tuesday after receiving complaints that the film perpetuates “negative and misleading stereotypes” of the Muslim community.
The Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) and Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) at U-M published an online memo to university officials that requested the screening be canceled. As reported by The College Fix, signers of the letter were largely students, although some U-M staff members did sign on to the letter.
The collective letter alleges that showing the film “sympathizes with a mass killer” and that Navy SEAL Chris Kyle was a “racist” with a “disturbing stance on murdering Iraqi civilians.” Kyle is credited with 160 confirmed kills, making him the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history.
In a statement from the Center for Campus Involvement Twitter account, officials apologize for the decision to screen the movie.
“We deeply regret causing harm to members of our community,” the statement reads.
Officials said students complained that the feel “unsafe and unwelcome” at the program.
Grant Strobl, a U-M student and chair of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) chapter, said in a statement that the university’s decision to cancel the screening of American Sniper “deplorable.”
“This is not a political issue, or an issue of racism and bigotry as claimed so ridiculously by the MSA and legitimized by the University’s actions,” the conservative organization said. “This is about doing what is right, respecting our men and women in uniform and honoring our heroes who fight to protect our freedoms.”
The film was originally slated to be shown as part of UMix Late Night, a program at the university that purports to promote a “series of fun, late night activities and events for University of Michigan students.” The UMix website notes that its programs seek to cater to the interests of the diverse campus population.
Now, Paddington, a film that chronicles the travels of a talking bear, will be shown at UMix.
The Center for Campus Involvement did not respond to a request for comment from Campus Reform in time of publication.
Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @GMillerThompson