*The administrators of North Central College in Naperville, IL. thought it would be a fabulous idea to invite Spike Lee as a guest lecturer. But things have gotten ugly among student protesters who don’t want him to come.
As part of the school’s week-long tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the North Central College made it public knowledge the filmmaker would be gracing them with his presence on Tuesday, Jan. 18 for a relatively inexpensive forum ($20 fee). However, the Italic Institute of America isn’t too happy about the invitation.
According to the group, the filmmaker’s portrayal of Italian-Americans conflicts with King’s message of civil rights.
“Having Lee speak at an event honoring Dr. King is akin to having Maury Povich as the guest speaker at a Happy Marriage Convention,” said Bill Dal Cerro, president of IIA. He added that Lee has negatively stereotyped Italians and depicted them in demeaning ways.
But it is unlikely the group’s effort will budge the educational institution’s decision.
Ted Slowik, director of public relations and media relations for the college released the following statement:
“Spike Lee is still coming. One of the reasons we invite keynote speakers like Spike Lee is to provide an opportunity for our students to engage in thought and dialogue about issues of race and social activism — topics that Lee has addressed in his films. North Central College has a long history of building bridges among cultures, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s visit to the campus in 1960 is one of many examples of how the college has provided forums for thought-provoking dialogue throughout its 150-year history.”