St. Thomas cancels "Hump Day" event, starring a camel, after students threaten protest

Categories: Education
HUMPDAY.jpg
A flier for the since-canceled event.
On Wednesday evening, the St. Thomas Residence Hall Association was scheduled to hold an event called "Hump DAAAAAAY!" A flier for it says, "Take pictures with A REAL CAMEL!"

But the event was canceled after a group of students used Facebook to organize an anti-"Hump Day" protest that was scheduled for the same time.

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The reason the students decided to organize the protest is multifaceted, Ryan Burke, one of the protest's organizers, tells us.

"Camels on campus, livestock on campus -- it doesn't seem like the priorities are in line with the mission of our campus," Burke, a justice and peace studies major, says. "That sparked me to be critical of it."

"A group of us got together to point out there were issues with having a camel on a predominately white campus," he continues. "It's a case study here -- [St. Thomas] is 86 percent white, a majority of students are from the upper-class suburbs, and it feels like you're going to school with Michele Bachmann over and over and over again. In a predominantly white campus, having an exotic animal on campus that people can take selfies with, we decided to speak out and it got canceled."

In the end, a Facebook event page for the protest ended up with more RSVPs than the event page for the actual "Hump Day" extravaganza itself. ("We had more than 100 RSVPs, and it's really big deal to get people to do anything here so we had a lot of support behind us, very much much more support than normal," Burke says.) In a Facebook reprinted on Campus Reform that appears to have since been deleted, the RHA cited the event's divisiveness as the reason the plug was pulled.

"RHA's goal in programming is to bring residents together in a fun and safe environment where all people can enjoy themselves," RHA president Lindsay Goodwin said in the post. "It appears however, this program is dividing people and would make for an uncomfortable and possibly unsafe environment for everyone attending or providing the program. As a result, RHA has decided to cancel the event."

(For an in-depth analysis of why some St. Thomas students were troubled by the Hump Day event, read Ashley Allan's essay, "For Us White Folk: Unpacking Our Orientalism.")

As you'd imagine, many students don't agree with the RHA's decision to cancel the event. Morgan Schreurs, a political science major who says she has friends on both sides of the issue, says she's heard from students who "didn't think the protest was a good use of time or energy." But Schreurs says the nuanced objections put forth by Burke and others were quickly reduced to a caricature.

(For more, click to page two.)



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76 comments
amkurthy
amkurthy

I am a student at St. Thomas and this is the first article I've read that has accurately depicted the issues surrounding the event. Thank you. 

senatortombstone
senatortombstone

Even I am at a loss as to how diversity nazis could be offended by a camel. To them I say: "heil hippo!"

udopes
udopes

hahahaha white guilt is so funny!

Vida07
Vida07

I have read through all of the comments on this page and I can only express how disheartened I am about the response to this event being cancelled. Where is the empathy in our world? When an individual speaks out about a concern, our place is not to place blame or quiet them with rage, rather to seek to understand that concern. I am proud of the students who spoke out. The moment you remain quiet about something you believe is wrong… is the very moment you become voiceless. Thank you for using your voice.


I encourage all readers to take another look at the issue through a different lens. Seek to be more empathetic.

Andy Fuchs
Andy Fuchs

Maybe we should also ban their music, food, and hey why not throw religion in there too because i just can't help but relate everything middle eastern to terrorists.

Rachael Albertson
Rachael Albertson

Seems there is no desire to have fun anymore...everything gets turned into a race and discrimination issue. So sad!

Patty Reichert Hill
Patty Reichert Hill

The protesters seem to be looking for something to protest. Their reasons for protesting a "fun and lighthearted" event are ridiculous. Find something of value to protest. What a waste of time!

Britt Woltersdorf
Britt Woltersdorf

Are you kidding me....you take offense to having a camel on your campus for reasons that only you created. God people get more stupid with every passing day.

Artemis27
Artemis27

I am a student at St Thomas, and I can tell you that both sides of the argument were unfounded. I can also tell you that the groups involved represented a small, but outspoken group of people on campus. Please do not let this incident be the main influential factor on your opinion of the university.
A group of people were trying to do something nice, and then another group disagreed. There could have been a civil discourse about the issue. Instead, both sides got heated and the name calling went both ways.
 

The above being said, I am all for the ethical treatment of animals, but the situation was blown way out of proportion. There are too many hypersensitive cries of cultural appropriation and the like nowadays. We can share our cultures and ideas without being racist and cruel - it is possible!

Ahmed Alghamdi
Ahmed Alghamdi

Okay can we bring a cheep to the campus or that is also offending.. those people are mentally fucked up

Saturday
Saturday

I think is pretty cool it was cancelled. I don't think everyone likes to be ridden and  touched by random people. nasty

adam_kay
adam_kay

I think a lot of the comments here are terrible. You all should realize that most everyone at UST associated with this is smiling. The campus dialogue was funny, but it was also healthy because it brought up some important general issues. UST is seeking to become more diverse and inclusive, so we need to think about how events might affect others. You shouldn't bash students for that - they're expressing empathy and they are thinking about the common good. 

CITYRIDERRT19
CITYRIDERRT19

White people protesting for the sake of protesting to get brownie points from their Justice and Peace Profs.  Nothing new in the world of Liberal Arts academia, Mac has a scheduled protest almost every month.

Keyser Söze
Keyser Söze

Oh yea and I'm offended there won't be a camel.

JimmyLevendia
JimmyLevendia

@HereticProg No, this isn't real. Can't be...can it? You know academia is a festering swamp when you can't tell the parody from reality.

Drea Carmen Curtis
Drea Carmen Curtis

St. Thomas students [on both sides of the "argument"] have way, waaay too much time on their hands. That said, I'm not surprised.

Rob DeGidio
Rob DeGidio

St Thomas is filled with pathetic white suburban kids that have nothing to do...

Keyser Söze
Keyser Söze

I swear people would complain over an event where $5000 is handed out.

Vincent Hopwood
Vincent Hopwood

Party Poopers! Next they'll ban the playing of The Cure because people should be in love 7 days a week, rather than just Fridays!

Anna Wagner
Anna Wagner

Seriously? These people don't need to have something designed for innocent fun as a break from the stress, they clearly have way too much free time on their hands already during finals.

Anna Gonzalez
Anna Gonzalez

Must be difficult to be white. All these minorities oppressing your views on camels. Also all these animal sympathizers who care about the quality of an animals life. This is America animals are for meat and entertainment and god forbid you have views I don't relate to or understand.

kayjayp11
kayjayp11

I get nervous walking by the campus!!! I feel that my beliefs and morals will be looked down upon. Are you all saying that if I am okay with Michelle Bachmann I would not welcome on campus? i pay taxes for your educations also you closed minded no fun to be had here students. Bigger things to get upset about

Matthew Martin
Matthew Martin

If it was just about the $500... You could take up a collection and have that paid easily ($5 photo with the camel) or whatever. But the other excuses about the grass and racism. Some colleges have problems with drugs and parties. I guess St. Thomas' problems are exotic animals and people not minding their damn business.

Juliana Christa Berg
Juliana Christa Berg

How Ryan Burke phrased his explanation for starting the protest is bs "It's a case study here -- [St. Thomas] is 86 percent white, a majority of students are from the upper-class suburbs, and it feels like you're going to school with Michele Bachmann over and over and over again. In a predominantly white campus, having an exotic animal on campus that people can take selfies with, we decided to speak out and it got canceled." What an asshole.

Abby Frantz
Abby Frantz

Some people just have too much time on their hands.

friday
friday

I don't know after owning a pet (dog) and thinking about him as another family member the last thing I want is an animal being led around on a rope with a bunch of drunk tommie's taking selfies with it. 

If you would not like your family pet being subjected to this kind of thing don't do it to another animal. 

Dreyke Boone
Dreyke Boone

A camel! $500! Toxic Grass! Think about the children!!!

Krueges3
Krueges3

@Vida07  It is not the fact that they are actually offended, it is the fact that they "WANT" to be offended that is the issue.  

GoodWolf
GoodWolf

@kayjayp11  

If you're "okay with Michele Bachmann", then your beliefs and morals SHOULD be looked down upon.

JimmyLevendia
JimmyLevendia

@HereticProg These idiots are making me ashamed of my sheepskin. How I loathe them. Social sciences: do-it-yourself barbarism.

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