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Student Leaders Release Letter Opposing ‘Midget Wrestling’ Event

Student leaders and Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims released an open letter Monday morning opposing the “Midget Wrestling” event that’s been held multiple times at Champs Downtown and is scheduled to take place again Tuesday night.

The first signee, senior Alexa Ain, discussed the problems with the term “midget” to refer to people with dwarfism in a talk at State of State’s fifth annual conference over the weekend.

“Not only is the use of the word “Midget” both offensive and inconsiderate, it improperly teaches those who may be unaware of this particular physical difference/disability that it is acceptable to refer to them in this manner,” the letter reads. “For a community that values education and equality, it is unfit that they are willing to tolerate the use of this word, which inherently implies a negative connotation toward those with dwarfism, a medical condition characterized by short stature.”

 

Champs declined to comment on the matter.

You can read the full letter below:

To the Penn State and State College Community,

On September 19th, 2017, a local establishment in downtown State College opted to host an event titled “Midget Wrestling,” that was sadly attended by both students and community members. Shortly after this event occurred, a Penn State student who is deeply connected to this cause, spoke to the State College Borough Council about how detrimental events like this are to society. Events such as these reinforce the ideal that little people exist entirely for entertainment purposes. If we, as a society, agree that it is unjust and immoral to use racial slurs, why do we allow events such as this to continue to occur?

Not only is the use of the word “Midget” both offensive and inconsiderate, it improperly teaches those who may be unaware of this particular physical difference/disability that it is acceptable to refer to them in this manner. For a community that values education and equality, it is unfit that they are willing to tolerate the use of this word, which inherently implies a negative connotation toward those with dwarfism, a medical condition characterized by short stature.

It has recently come to our attention that this event will unfortunately be occurring again on Tuesday, February 6th, under the new name “Little Mania”. While the removal of the offensive term, “midget” is a step in the right direction, it is not enough. This event needs to be completely eradicated, and we, as Penn State students and leaders should be apart of this change. Not only does this event work against the mission of our University, but it promotes prejudice. Penn State preaches five values — Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, Discovery, Excellence, and Community. This event does not promote a single one of these values, but rather chips away at our community, respect and integrity.

We must stand united as both students and leaders at Penn State. We must stand against injustice, discrimination, and non-inclusive practices. We must stand together in the condemnation of events like these and discourage their continuation, in order to achieve a truly inclusive community. We ask that the Penn State community come together against discrimination, prejudice and intolerance, and not attend this event because we are ALL Penn State.

Respectfully,

Alexa Ain, Vice President of Sisters on the Runway
Damon Sims, Vice President of for Student Affairs
John Lord, President of the Interfraternity Council
Katie Jordan, President of the University Park Undergraduate Association
Fernando Mendez, President of the Penn State College Democrats
Genevieve Fishman, President of the Panhellenic Council
Samantha Geisinger, Executive Director of the Association of B1G Ten Students
Matt Krott, President of the Graduate and Professional Student Association

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa was the managing editor of Onward State from 2017-2019. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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