“denies that the last-minute decision amounted to censorship”
This is a student-directed production but the school feared some of the imagery. What other plays should now be cancelled?
The College Fix reports:
College yanks student-directed play at last minute because it depicts KKK
A private college canceled a student-produced play that satirizes the Ku Klux Klan an hour before its final dress rehearsal, saying it could trigger some people on campus.
Maryland’s Washington College denies that the last-minute decision amounted to censorship that will chill the expression of other student artists.
Instead, a spokesperson emphasized to The College Fix that the administration seeks to “balance the right of free speech with our values of inclusion and compassion.”
“The Foreigner” drew prior administrative attention because the interim chair of the theater department, Prof. Laura Eckelman, notified administrators of its content two days before the final dress rehearsal, Director of College Communications Wendy Clarke wrote in an email.
Eckelman declined to answer Fix questions in a phone call Nov. 22, instead replying to an email. Asked if she typically sent out scripts to administrators before plays are performed and if she would handle the situation differently looking back, Eckelman declined to answer. She wrote in an email that Clarke “will be replying on behalf of both of us.”
Free speech and theater groups warned that the college’s rationale for canceling the play – “some characters dressed in KKK robes,” as Clarke said – could also be used to shield students from popular theater productions or films, such as “The Sound of Music” and “BlacKkKlansman.”
“We urge Washington College to immediately reschedule the production and demonstrate, through its actions, its respect for the work of its students and its commitment to academic freedom,” read a joint statement from the National Coalition Against Censorship, Dramatists Legal Defense Fund and Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
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