In case you missed it: What happened at Frelon

By Olivia Nalugya

Saturday’s Frelon show was concluded by a student protest about institutional racism as perpetuated by Frelon Dance Company. According to the student protestors, the event was a general call for institutional reform at Kalamazoo College.

During the action, Student Commission President Darrin Camilleri ’14 made opening remarks about the need for institutional reform on campus and the efforts to make the campus a welcoming environment for everyone including students of color. “As the chief advocate of students at Kalamazoo College, I took it as my responsibility to stand in solidarity with those treated unjustly,” Camilleri said, at the Student Commission meeting on Monday.

Justin Danzy ’16 followed Camilleri’s introduction during the action and read out grievances against Frelon Dance Company.  The group was accused of refusing to approve the student protestors’ fliers for posting and also taking down the ones that were posted before the show. There were also comments about lack of cultural acknowledgement of some the dances featured in the show.

Danzy also mentioned the lack of concern for institutional oppression among the Frelon Directors evidenced by their absence on stage during the action. He however apologized during the Student Commission meeting for he was later informed that there were indeed a couple of Frelon directors on stage at that time.

Student Commissioners Andrew Kim ’17 and Lucas Kushner ’14 described the action as insensitive and inappropriate for such a celebratory moment. Lucas felt that instead of it being ‘a collective call for action, it turned out to be a polarizing in a lot of ways”. However student commissioner Cassandra Solis ‘16 thought it was far from insensitive since it was staged at the end of the show. She maintained that such actions are bound to create discomfort among various people but that this discomfort is also part of the point trying to be made. Danzy indicated that action was not intended to divide the student body: “It is not about being anti-white if you stand up for people of color. You are not merely going against the majority,” he said.

Frelon Director Jack Massion ’14 urged the entire campus community to take this as a learning experience. “I think it is more important to look forward instead of backward,” he said. Further discussions regarding the issue will take place on Thursday of this week at 11:30 a.m. on the lower quad co-facilitated by Dr. Reid Gómez and Dr. Shanna Salinas.

 

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