Yielding to student protests, Michigan removes Bright Shengmain
The University of Michigan has removed the composer Bright Sheng from teaching a composition class after student protests over his showing a film of Laurence Olivier playing Othello in blackface.
Another professor, less qualified, will teach the class.
Sheng holds the title of Leonard Bernstein Distinguished University Professor of Composition.
David Gier, dean of the School of Music, Theatre & Dance, said the change of teacher would ‘allow for a positive learning environment.’
He added: ‘Professor Sheng’s actions do not align with our School’s commitment to anti-racist action, diversity, equity and inclusion.’
The student newspaper has more details here.
Sheng’s treatment is reminiscent of the persecution he faced in China after Mao’s Cultural Revolution. The students have been empowered and the professors are unable to teach.
University of Michigan School of Music
UPDATE: Here’s an example of U. of Michigan’s elevated standards:
— U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance (@umichsmtd) May 2, 2020