What’s going on on college campuses these days? Why would institutions of so-called higher learning be skittish about students expressing their opinions? And what would they have to hide about campus events that they wouldn’t want their students talking about to media?
If it all sounds a little outlandish to you, you aren’t the only one.
Kent State University student Skyler Dye is asking some of those same questions and it has university officials scrambling to keep a lid on their PC policy decisions governing casting in the school of Theater and Dance.
Dye is a theater student who spoke out, publicly, against the school’s decision to shut down production of their fall presentation of “West Side Story.”
On October 1 Campus Reform reported that Kent State canceled the show because there were complaints from students that not enough “Latinx” students were part of the cast.
“Dye called the decision to cancel the production ‘bowing to racists,’ adding that the decision to give in to demands ‘purely because those people can’t see anything but skin color says more than enough about the university and its dedication to quality,’” according to Campus Reform.
That’s where things got too hot for Kent State to handle. After Dye was quoted in Campus Reform’s article, the university asked from that point forward all media requests for interviews be directed through the University Relations representative, Eric Mansfield.
Dye received this request in writing from Kent State School of Theater and Dance Director Eric van Baars.
“Because you were quoted in a recent interview about “West Side Story,” you very well may be asked to give others. This is within your right, however, the university is requesting that any media request for interviews be directed to Eric Mansfield, university relations,” the message from van Baars read.
The message continued to explain that “some students who spoke out” received “hate mail,” and assured Dye that the police were involved because they were concerned for his safety.
Dye told Campus Reform, “First I was confused. Then I laughed. I thought it was so ridiculous that I be requested to notify University Relations about media requests. Why would they want that? For no good reason.”
Dye responded to the school’s request, “I will continue to give interviews, and I expect the university to come up with a better solution to threats than suggesting we ‘just be quiet’ or only talk through certain individuals.”
“Kent State wants students to refrain from media interviews because they foster an environment where we are all supposed to all be warm and cozy and not deal with the fact that people are threatened. In response, Kent leaves us students defenseless? In fact, more defenseless and restricted than they were before?” he said.
Dye went on to explain in his response that he alone is responsible for his safety and he also bears sole responsibility for his actions.
“My personal safety is my own chief concern, and only I bear the responsibility for myself and my actions. Only I can defend myself with any shred of speed at a moment’s notice. There is a wonderful police force on and off campus that I deeply respect, but a blue light and a call can only do so much.”
He also had a few amusing things to say about their method and mode of correspondence: “Please format your emails, spell check and spell my name correctly next time. If you really cared, you’d give me a modicum of that basic decency and respect.”
In addition to being a theater minor, Dye is also an English major and Vice President of Liberty Hangout at KSU.
Liberty Hangout is a supporter of campus carry.
Unlike the media will tell you, not ALL students support gun control. Rather, we stand with @KaitMarieox and believe all students should have the right to conceal carry on campus. #CampusCarryNow pic.twitter.com/iD1SUSpy6c
— Liberty Hangout at Kent (@LHatKent) September 28, 2018
There seems to be a whole lot of political correctness going on at Kent State. Not only are they concerned with racial diversity in campus theatrical casting, they are also a little more than off-center on free speech and self-protection/right to carry issues.
And they don’t want anyone to know about it.
That’s going to be kind of tough if there are any more students like Skyler Dye on campus.
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