A US university recently decided to remove a mural. Its content: absolutely harmless. But now the picture has to go – because it shows too many white people.
Students feel uncomfortable
When Arthur “Art” Sherman, like countless other young Americans, returned home after World War II, he began to study at the University of Rhode Island. Together with other veterans, he and his fellow students raised money to commemorate fallen soldiers. As a result of the action, the student association “Memorial Union” was founded.
Because the now 95-year-old liked to draw cartoons, his friends asked him to paint a mural to mark the establishment of the new student association. He probably never would have thought that one day his work would be covered with a tarpaulin. The reason is bizarre and he could never have guessed it.
Wall paintings have to go because they don’t depict the diversity of the university
“I had received complaints that the mural was depicting a very homogeneous population,” said Cathy Collins, vice president of student affairs, on WJAR-TV.
Cathy Collins turns against the painting, which is perceived as out of date.
Then the issue quickly came to the “Black Lives Matter” movement: “I think that we need to take note of the terrible incidents involving George Floyd and others at this tense time and look closely at parts of our university that may not represent how diverse we are today.”
The last word from the Vice President: “We had to make a difficult decision for the future of the university and we are thinking about who our students are today and who our students will be tomorrow.”
To cut a long story short, a black banner with the university’s logo is now covering the wall where the painting could be seen.
The artist’s daughter objects and suggests an alternative
The artist’s daughter, Pamela Sherman, disagrees with the removal of the work of art and criticizes the decision: “It is terrible! We grew up with this mural. We don’t want to forget our past.”
The university assured people that they could still see the mural in photos, but Sherman replied that the photograph of a picture was not comparable to the original.
Instead, she suggested a different path: “Let’s look at our history and include the perspectives of all generations in it. We’d love to see new works of art, but let’s put them next to each other to reflect the development of the university.”