Sunday, June 07, 2015

Petition Protesting Removal of Marquette Cop Killer Mural

We now have the text of the petition signed by over 60 Marquette faculty and staff, protesting the removal of a mural of cop killer and terrorist Assata Shakur from a wall in the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center.

First, the text of the e-mail cover send out with the letter:
Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,

Please read and consider signing the attached statement regarding the removal of the Assata Shakur mural from the GSRC office and the firing of GSRC Director Susannah Bartlow. This statement will be sent to members of the University Leadership Council. After reading this statement, email me if you’d like to sign and I will add your name and university department/position to the list of signees. You may sign anonymously, if you prefer. In that case, you will be listed as “Assistant Professor, Name Withheld” or “Staff Member, Name Withheld” (or perhaps “Staff Member, Libraries, Name Withheld”).

Take care,
Stephen Franzoi
Professor Emeritus, Psychology Department
Now the text of the letter itself:
The recent events on campus in response to the mural of Assata Shakur and the subsequent firing of the GSRC director, Susannah Bartlow, demand a response. As faculty, we would hope that a university administration would respond with a critical and careful concern for our students, our faculty, and our staff. In short, the administration should act with discernment following a process of examen and reflection. The university’s response has been the exact opposite. As a faculty, we submit that the following were not weighed in considering the process for engaging the mural, erasing the mural, and terminating Dr. Bartlow. The incident has raised critical questions that the university ought to have considered before any decisions were made.

First and foremost, there was no consideration of the intellectual or scholarly traditions in which Shakur is invoked and engaged. While she is certainly a controversial figure, by adopting the narrative of pure vilification, the university has applied a problematic standard. The opportunity to sponsor a discussion about the appropriateness or inappropriateness of the mural’s subject was completely lost. Any context about race, policing, and the present moment and historical legacy surrounding these issues were ignored, including any reflection on Marquette’s own place within the social justice landscape. Did the administration consider the chilling impact of the erasure of the image within the context of present conversations about police brutality and black life? To disappear the mural with no engagement or conversation was to deny the role of such symbols in the social critique of police and to selectively erase some difficult histories while leaving others untouched. For a university to adopt a position informed solely by police is problematic in that they are but one stakeholder in our community. Students, staff and faculty are the other stakeholders on this campus, and their perspective and knowledge ought to have been weighed.

Second, the racial politics of the erasure of the mural were not considered with care. A group of black women students asks for a space to self-educate and explore. They paint a mural of a controversial black female figure. The figure is erased. Were the students consulted? Were they offered an opportunity to engage? To defend their choice? Were they offered opportunities for education and coursework? Was any of the care for their whole persons extended on the part of the university? Or was their initial request, that for space to invest in the representations of black women on campus, simply denied and stripped away? Where is the care for our students, their desire to engage in serious and difficult conversations? Does the university note that the involvement of Professor McAdams in drawing attention to the mural after its painting on March 24, 2015, means that a white male professor’s voice has taken prominence over the voices of many black female students, and the staff who took their project seriously and sought to give them space for conversation? What is the university planning to do to make those students whole? There is also the issue of whether similar standards are applied to other figures with problematic legacies, and how the term “terrorist” is itself not a neutral moniker, but one that is deeply racialized and politicized. For example, while Nelson Mandela is honored as a freedom fighter, he and the ANC were literally branded terrorists by the apartheid state in South Africa. Mandela remained on the U.S.’s lists of terrorist until 2008. Conversely, Thomas Jefferson is largely celebrated at the University of Virginia and at many universities across the country as a founding father and celebrated figure in our democratic history. Simultaneously, a robust and well-documented understanding of his legacy of slave ownership and sexual exploitation is well known in scholarly and popular discourse. As universities, which problematic legacies do we quietly accept, and which do we hold accountable? Is their [sic] racial and gender parity in how these standards are applied? Are we condoning some forms of violence while rejecting others?

Finally, was the process by which Dr. Bartlow was terminated appropriate and proportional? Was the board of the GSRC asked to weigh in? As the GSRC’s charter dictates that all decisions impacting the operations and future of the center must be vetted through the board, how was the board included in the decision-making process? Is immediate termination an appropriate course of action given the sequence of events, and was Dr. Bartlow’s contribution to enriching the research and teaching practices on campus outweighed by the perception of transgression in this case? Was her expertise in bringing best practices around LGBTQ advocacy, sexual assault prevention and advocacy, allyship, and student support outweighed by this event? Does the administration consider how difficult it will be to replace Dr. Bartlow and that this hasty decision undermines the momentum of the GSRC, and compromises the students, staff and faculty who depend on the center’s resources and role at the university to enrich our work? Has the university considered the impact on future enrollments of our student body, or future faculty hires? How will this decision impact the quality of student, staff and faculty life in the future?

Given the failures of the administration to act in a manner befitting a scholarly Jesuit institution, we ask the university respond to these queries, put in place processes to secure the future of the GSRC, to support students of color, and to embrace difficult conversations. Chiefly, it is clear that as the original recommendations for chartering the GSRC indicated, the GSRC must be directed by a tenured faculty member. In addition, programs such as Africana Studies and Women and Gender Studies must be adequately resourced, and care for our students, particularly students of color, must be exercised in the university’s practices, and not simply its words.

Sincerely,

Stephen L. Franzoi, Psychology

Analysis

This is a virtual thesaurus of politically correct ways of trying to defend the indefensible. Just how muddle-headed (and downright evil) is it? Let’s take it piece at a time.
As faculty, we would hope that a university administration would respond with a critical and careful concern for our students, our faculty, and our staff. In short, the administration should act with discernment following a process of examen and reflection. The university’s response has been the exact opposite.
And just how much “discernment” is needed to figure out that Marquette should not honor a cop-killing terrorist? If somebody painted a large racist mural on a wall on campus, the politically correct crowd wouldn’t be asking for “discernment” or “examen.” They would be demanding that it immediately be taken down. But they believe racism is really bad. Black militants killing white cops they think is debatable, and perhaps defensible.
First and foremost, there was no consideration of the intellectual or scholarly traditions in which Shakur is invoked and engaged. While she is certainly a controversial figure, by adopting the narrative of pure vilification, the university has applied a problematic standard.
What “intellectual or scholarly traditions?” The notion that it’s OK for blacks to rob and murder and that this somehow redresses racism?

Being a violent thug is not a “intellectual or scholarly tradition.” And even if it were, it would not be one Marquette should honor and commend.
Any context about race, policing, and the present moment and historical legacy surrounding these issues were ignored, including any reflection on Marquette’s own place within the social justice landscape.
So there is some “context” that makes killing cops (or honoring cop killers) acceptable? If one thinks there are problems surrounding race and policing an appropriate response is for black militants to kill cops?

Or perhaps Franzoi thinks that if black people are upset about police behavior (and it doesn’t seem to matter if, as in Ferguson or Madison, the cops were blameless) a good way to placate them is to honor a cop killer.

People who condone killing cops should not be placated. They should be roundly condemned. But leftist academics can’t bring themselves to do that.

As for “Marquette’s own place within the social justice landscape:” just how do you strike a blow for social justice by honoring a cop killer? Not only is this an injustice to the cop who is killed, it poisons the racial atmosphere, mostly to the detriment of black people.
Did the administration consider the chilling impact of the erasure of the image within the context of present conversations about police brutality and black life?
If painting over the mural sends a clear “chilling” message to those who think killing cops is defensible, that’s good. Marquette ought to condemn such ideas.
Students, staff and faculty are the other stakeholders on this campus, and their perspective and knowledge ought to have been weighed.
Does Franzoi believe that more than a tiny clique of politically correct yahoos among the “stakeholders” approve of a mural honoring a cop killer? Actually, he probably does. In certain departments at Marquette a narrow insular political correctness is dominant. But not among all faculty, and certainly not among all students, who on net are politically moderate. But perhaps when Franzoi says “students” he’s talking about a small group of leftist political activists. But they don’t represent all students.
Second, the racial politics of the erasure of the mural were not considered with care. A group of black women students asks for a space to self-educate and explore. They paint a mural of a controversial black female figure. The figure is erased. Were the students consulted? Were they offered an opportunity to engage? To defend their choice?
Here Franzoi most explicitly plays the race card. If a group of black women asked for something, they should not be denied, since they are members of a victim group, and any of their requests must be acceded to, under penalty of being charged with racism.

But it gets worse:
Does the university note that the involvement of Professor McAdams in drawing attention to the mural after its painting on March 24, 2015, means that a white male professor’s voice has taken prominence over the voices of many black female students. . . .
So here we have the anti-white racism and anti-male sexism so prevalent in academia. McAdams’ views must be rejected, since he’s a white male.

But of course, Marquette doesn’t care what we think. They reacted to the undeniable empirical reality: a large mural of a terrorist and cop killer was painted on a wall on campus.

Further, according to a national spokesperson for the black sorority in question (Alpha Kappa Alpha):
Unfortunately Ms. Shakur’s entire history and background was not fully researched. If that process had occurred, she would not have been featured in the mural.
In short, it was not “the voices of many black female students,” it was a screw up by sorority members who didn’t do their homework.
What is the university planning to do to make those students whole?
The members of Alpha Kappa Alpha do not need to be “made whole,” they need to be sternly lectured about expecting Marquette to honor a cop killer and terrorist. They need to be told to do their homework. And if they did intentionally want to honor a terrorist, they should be condemned.
Thomas Jefferson is largely celebrated at the University of Virginia and at many universities across the country as a founding father and celebrated figure in our democratic history. Simultaneously, a robust and well-documented understanding of his legacy of slave ownership and sexual exploitation is well known in scholarly and popular discourse. As universities, which problematic legacies do we quietly accept, and which do we hold accountable? Is their [sic] racial and gender parity in how these standards are applied? Are we condoning some forms of violence while rejecting others?
To compare Thomas Jefferson to Assata Shakur is absurd. Jefferson was one of the Founders of the greatest democracy on earth. Shakur’s legacy is a dead cop, numerous other crimes for which she was not convicted, and asylum in Fidel Castro’s Communist dictatorship.

Jefferson’s sexual behavior was immoral, but so was the sexual behavior of Martin Luther King, who frequently and blatantly committed adultery. But both King and Jefferson have a positive legacy. Shakur is just a thug and a criminal.
Has the university considered the impact on future enrollments of our student body, or future faculty hires? How will this decision impact the quality of student, staff and faculty life in the future?
Just what kind of people would blame Marquette, and refuse to come to Marquette, because Marquette would not allow a cop killer mural on campus? Apparently the sort of people that Franzoi would want to have at Marquette.

But not everybody thinks what Marquette needs more of the sort of leftists who think killing cops is acceptable. That is if a black kills a white cop. A white killing a black cop is something the leftists would really dislike.

Conclusion

That sixty-plus people signed this shows how corrupt Marquette has become. It’s true that this is only a small proportion of all Marquette faculty and staff. But this mentality permeates certain departments at Marquette, including two departments integral to a liberal arts education: English and Philosophy. And it’s dominant among the activists who are constantly pushing Marquette to be less and less a Catholic university, or more a citadel of secular political correctness.

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8 Comments:

Blogger Mike Nelson said...

It's time to start looking for a new job, McAdams. You had your fun, now it's time to pay the piper.

11:48 AM  
Blogger John McAdams said...

You had your fun, now it's time to pay the piper.

The fun has just begun.

10:59 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

"We cannot in good conscience, as a Catholic, Jesuit institution, allow for a convicted murderer and fugitive to be held up as a model for our students," Dorrington said. "There is a significant difference in having an intellectual discussion of a controversial issue and showcasing that issue on a wall with no context or opportunity to present different views. This was a display, not an intellectual conversation."

I find this statement to be laughable. Marquette is no longer Catholic, Jesuit, nor do they allow "intellectual discussions" on "controversial issues" because it might hurt someone's feelings. The irony of this situation is hilarious. The president needs to resign. He has created a circus. I wouldn't send a child of mine to Marquette if it were the last university on earth!

1:58 AM  
Blogger Scott Lemmer said...

Anyone who signed, or sided with this petition, needs to get the hell outta here. You are, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the ultimate scum of the Earth.

12:26 PM  
Blogger Dick Daleke said...

I'm 83, an MU Journalism grad, class of '56. Long ago I stopped donating to my alma mater because of the ilk of faculty represented by these 60 petitioners. They obliterate the Catholic principles and virtues I learned there and have successfully used as guidelines for life. I am ashamed at MU's administration who have allowed them to do so. My wife also graduated from Marquette and if she were alive today she would be in tears over what has happened the the University she loved.

12:19 AM  
Blogger Thomas Vorderer said...

Why don't these professors resign in protest? You know why? Because then they would have to get real jobs instead of pontificating their nonsensical point of views. I suspect they teach course that are of no use in the real world and who's material is quickly forgotten as are they. My favorite course at Marquette was logic. I suspect it's not even taught any more. I believe it was required when I was there. So I challenge these professors on their convictions. Resign in protest and show the world you stand by your principles. Right. No, you will all go on you nice summer breaks patting yourselves on the back on how you stood up to the big bad system. In reality your a bunch of priveleged cowards. Tom Vorderer,Liberal Arts '80

8:01 AM  
Blogger TRorHemingway said...

So 60 professors want Marquette University to restore a mural honoring a convicted murderer, terrorist on the FBI's most wanted list, and hate group member? Let's try this first, how about every person who signed that petition meet face to face with Werner Foerster's son (the 'cop' Shakur shot and killed had a name and a family) and explain to him to his face why they would like to honor the woman who murdered his dad. Unbelievably, this list includes 60 who are faculty! They all made it through the interview process! Wow. Just wow.

11:17 PM  
Blogger KeynesianPacker said...

Describe what is fun.

3:40 PM  

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