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Mural of fugitive removed from campus, sorority responds

Natalie Wickman

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Pictures of the mural on the GSRC's facebook page, which have since been taken down. Photo via jsonline.com

Pictures of the mural on the GSRC’s facebook page, which have since been taken down. Photo via jsonline.com

Marquette removed a mural in the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center on Sunday night after realizing it featured FBI fugitive Assata Shakur.

The mural was painted in March with help from Marquette’s Mu Beta chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. Leona Dotson, international communications chairman of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc., released an official statement on the mural, stating its theme was approved by the university before the chapter painted it.

“The chapter worked with the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center to determine a theme and imagery for the mural,” the statement said. “The chapter, along with other university staff and students, painted a mural that featured an image and quote by Assata Shakur to promote student thinking about their educations and history. 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.”

The mural included a picture of Shakur’s face and two quotes of hers taken from her autobiography “Assata: An Autobiography.” Shakur, formerly known as Joanne Chesimard, is on the FBI’s most wanted list for escaping prison and fleeing to Cuba after being convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper in 1973. A statement on the mural was released by the university Sunday. It says university senior leadership “just became aware of a mural that was created and displayed in a remote area of campus.” The GSRC is located in room 425 of the Alumni Memorial Union.

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

Alpha Kappa Alpha referred to itself in the statement as consistently being “a beacon of peace, nonviolence and justice for all mankind.”

“In no way does the organization of more than 283,000 members condone, promote or tolerate the killing or violent activities of anyone,” the sorority statement said. “In order to prevent a recurrence, AKA is in the process of reminding all of its chapters, both undergraduate and graduate, about the importance of thoroughly vetting any person who might be promoted by the sorority before any action is taken.”

The GSRC did not respond to a request for comment by the time this article was published.

One report of the mural’s existence came May 16 from former political science professor John McAdams in a post on his blog Marquette Warrior. Marquette is in the process of removing McAdams from faculty after he publicly criticized a teaching assistant for not allowing discussion of same-sex marriage in her class last November.

McAdams is an outspoken conservative who condemned the GSRC in his post.

“Now we have yet another case of the extreme leftist agenda of the organization,” McAdams said about the GSRC in his blog post. “Yes, (Shakur) is the sort of person the ‘sexuality’ bureaucrats at Marquette feel deserves to be honored.”

The blog post received attention from conservative media including conservative commentator Michelle Malkin and WTMJ-AM talk show host Charlie Sykes. The GSRC also received criticism on Twitter, its Facebook page and on one of its Facebook posts that has been removed. The post was published March 24 and included pictures of the mural.

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2 Comments

2 Responses to “Mural of fugitive removed from campus, sorority responds”

  1. Walter-marie Miller on May 18th, 2015 7:39 pm

    The big lesson to be learned here is: Fire Michael Lovell.

    I told Lovell myself that the biggest issue he’ll face at Marquette is the faculty being controlled by an extremist junta – the university leftist – .

    Now time and again, time and again it’s cropping up, always as a P.R. nightmare for the university.

    When McAdams is vindicated by the Faculty Hearing Committee it will be on front pages nationwide. So there’s at least one more devastating blow to its reputation that the university, and its students and faculty, have to endure.

    Fire Lovell. Appoint Fr. Gawronski president.

  2. garyfouse on June 9th, 2015 1:42 pm

    This is typical of the type of displays you find in these various ethnic, women’s and gender departments on university campuses all over the country. Marquette needs a house cleaning, but so do so many other colleges. This is sick. At least they took it down when someone complained.

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