A student group at a Catholic university in Minnesota cancelled a “hump day” celebration over concerns that featuring a camel might offend the school’s Middle Eastern population.
The event, planned for Wednesday at the University of St. Thomas, would have included “a petting zoo type of atmosphere” with a camel rented from a local vendor for about $500, according to conservative news outlet Campus Reform.
The Residence Hall Association, which planned the event, decided to cancel after receiving complaints from students who organized on a now deleted Facebook page called “Protest Hump DAAAAAAY!”
In a statement the Residence Hall Association’s president acknowledged she had cancelled the event over concerns the desert dwelling dromedary might contribute to an “uncomfortable” atmosphere.
“It appears … this program is dividing people and would make for an uncomfortable and possibly unsafe environment for everyone attending or providing the program,” wrote Lindsay Goodwin, according to Campus Reform. “As a result, RHA has decided to cancel the event.”
But not everyone was pleased with the decision, according to Tommie Media, a school publication.
“There was also a claim that bringing the camel on campus was encouraging orientalism,” senior Ryan Nolan told the site. “I respectfully disagree. A camel does not ‘degrade or simplify’ our view of Middle Eastern culture.”
An editorial on the same site also explored a number or reasons the event might have been cancelled, including cost, animal cruelty, and racism.
“The topic of racism started popping up, and it all went downhill from there,” according to the editorial. “How does taking pictures with an animal degrade or simplify students’ views of Middle Eastern culture? It’s a seriously far-fetched claim—one that’s kind of stereotypical, but mostly just senseless.”
Campus Reform notes the school has hosted other wildlife without running into opposition. For example the school apparently hosted a Reindeer in December and a Mechanical Bull earliest this month as part of a “Southern Hospitality”
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