On-Campus Entertainment: University ACE Board attempts to provide open-minded performers a space to share art

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Pacific University is undeniably fortunate to have the resources and the team at ACE Board to plan so many engaging, large-scale events on campus for students and faculty. But are the speakers, entertainers and comedians brought to the university often too politically correct (PC)?

A-list comedians such as Chris Rock and Jerry Seinfeld have long discussed the struggles of performing at college campuses through the fear of offending students and being heckled by the “PC police.”

They sight college students holding the reputation of being quite sensitive and easily offended by certain humour, making campuses an awkward place for comedians to perform.

Comedian John Mulaney has opened up in opposition to this, arguing that college campuses are not too sensitive to host these kinds of acts, but simply cannot afford to book them.

Students are aware of the fact that, like many other colleges, Pacific cannot afford to throw money towards events of this magnitude on a frequent basis. ACE Board is a student-based organization, funded by the student senate, who have to deal with more than just booking celebrity acts.

They manage all things technical to do with these events like sound, lighting and also help other student groups run similar events. It is not that the board is afraid to book large scale acts for fear of offending the audience, they just simply do not have the funding.

As for the audience at Pacific, because the student body is so diverse and studying in a fairly liberal state, it may seem that people could be easily offended. But with the past two open mic nights, the university seems to be reciprocating well to the acts recently brought onto campus.

“No, I really don’t think campus is too PC at all,” freshman student Ruby Smith. “In fact, I feel like sometimes they have speakers and performers that are borderline vulgar to seem trendy.”

However, ACE board recently seems to be introducing more open-minded speakers to their events. This February open mic night was hosted by Ebony Stewart, a poet and sex education teacher from Houston, Texas.

During her set, the host handed out a question box giving Pacific students the chance to anonymously ask any question, sex-related or not. The questions, and answers were far from PC, but there was no issue with this. The host was a hit and her avant-garde personality gave the night a relaxed vibe, allowing the audience to open up a lot more than they would at other school events.

The long awaited TEDxPacificU event scheduled to take place mid-March will also feature like-minded speakers throughout the day. The theme ‘Defy the norm’ ensures the speakers will be tackling social issues and breaking down boundaries.


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