A student-sponsored “Hump Day” event at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., has been canceled because of accusations of racism.
The student's Residence Hall Association (RHA) planned to bring a live camel on campus, which would pose for pictures with students on May 14, noted the Star Tribune.
The “Hump Day” event was recently cancelled after some students created a Facebook group page “Protest Hump DAAAAAAY!” that claimed the camel would be racially insensitive to Middle Eastern cultures.
“I think they thought the camel was coming from another part of the world,” Aaron Macke, RHS' adviser, told the Star Tribune. “And it would be bad for our carbon footprint.”
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However, the camel was local and protesters wrongly assumed that camels only inhabit Middle Eastern countries. The animals can also be found on the Horn of Africa and Central Asia. Early ancestors of today's camel roamed North America, China and Siberia.
In response to the (misinformed) protesters, RHA president Lindsay Goodwin wrote a statement on RHA’s Facebook page on May 7 that read:
RHA’s goal in programming is to bring residents together in a fun and safe environment where all people can enjoy themselves.
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.
We are sorry to the students who brought forward the idea and to those students who were supportive of the program. We look forward to seeing all of you at future RHA events.
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However, the RHA did put on a "Southern Hospitality" event on May 8 that featured a mechanical bull and Southern dishes with no protest about that culture.
A live reindeer was brought on campus in December 2013 without protests regarding the cultures of Norway, Finland, Siberia, Greenland, Alaska, and Canada where reindeer roam in large populations.