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Controversial Jackson Musical at Stanford University Canceled

At the Fountain, a student group at Stanford University, was going to put on a production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, but has canceled it.
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At the Fountain, a student group at Stanford University in California, was going to put on a production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, a musical that American Indian groups have opposed—including the Stanford American Indian Organization.

After a number of conversations between At the Fountain and the SAIO, the musical was canceled. According to Kelly Gregg, director of on-campus activities for At the Fountain Theatricals, “students from At the Fountain as well as SAIO have turned this potentially divisive situation into a learning experience to increase conversations on campus (and, potentially, nationally) about the intersection of art and cultures,” she said in an email. “Together with Stanford’s Asian American Theatre Project (AATP) and Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity department (CSRE), ATF and SAIO have launched a series of programming exploring representation of minority groups and political correctness in theater and the media called Who Can Speak for Whom.”

“Between the efforts with Stanford American Indian Organization, and the team that was planning to produce the play, we ultimately were able to convince them to not produce this piece,” said Dahlton Brown, co-chair of the Stanford American Indian Organization. “After hearing our concerns as Native American leaders here at Stanford, they concluded it would be in everyone’s best interest that the play not be produced. While yes, this is a controversial issue, this production will not be happening here on the Stanford University campus.”

While it’s true the musical has been canceled, there are some that find it troublesome that these conversations still have to happen at all.

Elizabeth Parent, who was the first Alaska Native woman to graduate from Stanford with a doctorate in 1984, has seen the university go through a lot and this entire situation bothered her.

“There are a lot of artistic works that could be put on that would advance race relations, history,” Parent, who is professor emerita of San Francisco State University, said. “For that play to be chosen is unfortunate, I couldn’t believe it.”

But she did say the university is trying, but they have to keep trying because she has seen quite a bit of racism among incoming freshmen.