Equality for COPA students of color

Written By Globe Editorial Staff

The week before Thanksgiving break, the Dean of the Conservatory of Performing Arts (COPA), Steven Breese, held a “town hall” meeting to discuss the show “Adding Machine: A Musical.”

During the meeting, many students of color courageously stood and explained their reasoning for being opposed to the musical, revealing their personal history and experiences with racism. The students involved were not in support of performing the show, displaying their own trauma with having to deal with the content during the rehearsal process.

The meeting was humbling. It was powerful. The students who fought against injustice were extremely graceful. We at The Globe support you.

The bottom line is, the meeting should not have had to happen. Students of color should not have had to stand and lay their trauma on the line for hours in front of hundreds of people in order for change to occur. 

As several students present pointed out, individual students had been meeting with COPA staff and faculty throughout the semester and previous semesters to discuss their concerns with the content of shows put on in the Playhouse. Evidently, their voices were not heard, as up until this point, change had not occurred.

Last Thursday’s meeting was productive and ushered in a new era of change for not only COPA students, but the entirety of the university. Students of color deserve equality. They should not be subjected to hearing racial slurs and insensitive content for the sake of “art,” if it can be called that.

The university-wide change starts with the unwavering strength of the COPA students of color. These students are continuing and winning the fight to be included in the selection of Playhouse seasons and the deletion of the COPA handbook requirements that force students on scholarship to accept roles, no matter how uncomfortable those roles or the show’s content may be. 

Students, this is our university. We pay mass amounts of money to be here and receive an education. We must fight for what is right, and apparently, this includes fighting for the right to not have to fight.