The film American Sniper has run in to controversy once again on a college campus, as a showing of the movie has been canceled at the University of Maryland following student outcry that the movie is Islamaphobic.
The university decided to cancel the screening after outcry from Muslim students on campus. The Muslim Students Association at the University of Maryland even started a petition requesting that the school pull the screening of American Sniper. In the petition, the group stated that the film “perpetuates the spread of Islamaphobia and is offensive to many Muslims around the world for good reason.”
Ironically enough, the group also requested that students “exercise their freedom of speech” by signing the petition to remove the film from campus. MSA seemingly got their wish this morning when the school decided to cancel the screening.
UMD is not the only school that has seen controversy erupt over the film. The University of Michigan initially canceled its showing of American Sniper, but reversed following an even larger outcry from upset students who wanted to see the movie. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) also delayed showing the film after complaints from the Muslim Students Association. George Mason University in Virginia has also seen students protest to ban the film from campus.
It's curious to see how quickly schools are folding on the issue of American Sniper. The petition at the University of Maryland garnered only 318 signatures--compared to the over 26,000 undergraduates enrolled at the school, that number is incredibly tiny. At Michigan, a "couple hundred" students signed a letter condemning the film before administrators folded. (A petition to bring the film back to campus, however, garnered over 600 signatures.)
When I was back in college and I didn't like a movie that was being shown or wasn't interested in an event, I simply found another activity to do that night. With thousands of undergrads, there's bound to be something else happening in College Park. Viewing American Sniper (or going to any of these random events on campus) is not a graduation requirement. It's 2015. Netflix/Hulu Plus/Amazon Prime/questionably legal online sources are all viable ways to watch a movie in ones own dorm room as an alternative to something put on by the school. Students should act like adults and trust their classmates to make their own decisions.