Higher Ed. professional fired over Assata Shakur mural

Mural

If college is the marketplace of ideas that should be open to freedom of expression and diversity of ideals, was it really right to remove a mural depicting Assata Shakur from a “remote” area on the campus of Marquette University? Furthermore, was it appropriate (or right) to fire  the Director of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (who was responsible for the creation of the mural)? Some regard Shakur as a terrorist, cop-killer, and dangerous black militant, especially after her murder conviction and escape from prison in the 70’s. However, some regard her as a powerful black activist, a leader, and a feminist leader.

A statement was released on behalf of Marquette University recently regarding the removal of the mural and the dismissal of a well-respected campus administrator:

“This is extremely disappointing as the mural does not reflect the Guiding Values of Marquette University. It is being removed immediately. We are reviewing the circumstances surrounding the mural and will take appropriate action.”

The mural was complete and displayed back in March, and the Gender and Sexuality Center began posting about it on social media sites…so why is that it was not called into question or action taken sooner rather than after a faculty member at the university brought negative attention to it in his blog post?

The mural included a silhouette of Assata Shakur and the following two quotes

“No one is going to give you the education you need to overthrow them,” one read. “Nobody is going to teach you your true history, teach you your true heroes, if they know that that knowledge will help set you free.”

 

The second quote read: “Before going back to college, I knew I didn’t want to be an intellectual, spending my life in books and libraries without knowing what the hell is going on in the streets. Theory without practice is just as incomplete as practice without theory. The two have to go together.”

After the mural was removed, Susannah Bartlow was fired from her position as the center’s director and many students and campus professionals have spoken out about their dismay of both decisions (to remove the mural and fire Bartlow); many believe that the center has done much to promote diversity and inclusion on the campus, and the two “reactions” go against the initiatives set forth by the campus regarding inclusion. . As expected, conservative media outlets are having a field day with negative press regarding the mural and the school, and positive press regarding its removal and firing Bartlow.

Although some believe the actions were justified, many believe that there is a deeper problem that exists and that firing Bartlow and removing the mural speak to issues such as students’ rights, freedom of speech, racism, a lack of care towards feminism, and the misunderstanding of art and artistic expression.

Shakur mural

 

 

 

One thought on “Higher Ed. professional fired over Assata Shakur mural

  1. This is horse shit.
    With that being said, it’s pitiful that institutions these days are so weak that they will let the opinions of one person blow something out of proportion to the importance of said issue. Is it only the mega corporations that remember that it’s their business to run as opposed to allowing people who have no actual involvement in the workings of the institution to dictate it’s course?

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