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Gender and Sexuality Resource Center director gone after Assata Shakur mural removal, Marquette community responds

This+GSRC+Facebook+post+from+March+24+was+removed.+Photo+via+jsonline.com
This GSRC Facebook post from March 24 was removed. Photo via jsonline.com

This GSRC Facebook post from March 24 was removed. Photo via jsonline.com

This GSRC Facebook post from March 24 was removed. Photo via jsonline.com

Natalie Wickman

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Update on May 29 at 1:09 p.m.- The petition to keep Susannah Bartlow at Marquette has over 440 signatures.

Article updated June 15 at 10:00 a.m.

One day after removing a mural featuring fugitive Assata Shakur from a wall in the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center, Marquette said the center’s director Susannah Bartlow is not a university employee.

“Susannah Bartlow is no longer an employee with Marquette University,” said University Spokesman Brian Dorrington in an email. “We will work with the Center’s advisory board to search for a new director so that we can continue to grow the important programs in the Center.”

Marquette Student Government said in a statement that it has been actively engaged in handling this situation and is working with university leaders to address it.

“MUSG stands with Marquette University and believes recent decisions were made through a thoughtful process and in accordance with the university’s Guiding Values,” the statement said. “MUSG will be working with university leadership to hire a new director of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center as soon as possible. We are committed to protecting the initiatives of the GSRC and supporting its role on campus.”

However, Joshua-Paul Miles, coordinator of MUSG’s Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice Committee, provided a differing statement.

“Marquette University and its actions against its Gender and Sexuality Resource Center are frowned upon by many students and faculty on this campus,” Miles said in his statement. “This center and its staff have been responsible and successful in creating a campus environment of inclusivity, respect and acceptance.”

A petition to keep Bartlow at Marquette is circulating online and has received over 130 signatures, many from students, by the time this article was published.

“We who are in support of this petition and the reinstatement of Bartlow are in no way making a statement about the mural or the woman featured on it,” said alumna Samantha Kemp, co-creator of the petition. “Our efforts are directed solely at the reinstatement of Bartlow.”

Kemp said other people behind the petition’s creation are graduate student Lauren Yadlosky and psychology professor Ed de St. Aubin.

Bartlow joined Marquette in 2012 to establish and direct the GSRC, in addition to serving as a women’s and gender studies professor.

“Marquette’s administrative actions are seen as taking a step back on its initiatives surrounding inclusion,” Miles said in his statement. “I and many others will ensure that the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center continues to create spaces of acceptance and love in the true Jesuit and Catholic mission.”

BACKGROUND ON THE INCIDENT

Marquette removed the mural on May 17 after realizing it featured Shakur. The mural was painted in March with help from Marquette’s Mu Beta chapter of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

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 a FBI most wanted list for escaping prison and fleeing to Cuba after she was convicted of killing a New Jersey state trooper in 1973.

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.”

In a university statement on the mural, the GSRC is referred to as “a remote area on campus.” It 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 statement said.

THE MURAL RECEIVES ONLINE ATTENTION 

One report of the mural’s existence came May 16 from suspended 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.

“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 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 was removed. The post was published March 24 and included pictures of the mural.

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29 Comments

29 Responses to “Gender and Sexuality Resource Center director gone after Assata Shakur mural removal, Marquette community responds”

  1. Lauren Yadlosky on May 19th, 2015 8:56 pm

    If you are interested in signing the petition to show support for Dr. Bartlow, please click the following link:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1OhhjUtD63WpT4dH1fbYY7xwmtVfEVGDEGyH4N3VF-DM/edit?usp=sharing

    [Reply]

    sturmvogel Reply:

    How about tar and feather?

    [Reply]

    roccolore Reply:

    Why do you support honoring a copkiller?

    [Reply]

    The Masked Avatar Reply:

    When can we expect the mural honoring Charles Manson to be completed?

    [Reply]

    Jer Reply:

    NOTE: This petition concerns ONLY the firing of Dr. Susannah Bartlow. For reasons that are clear, we not making a statement about the mural or the woman it features. This petition is for Dr. Bartlow, whose presence at Marquette is greatly needed.

    ——————
    Really Lauren? With all due respect how can you ask others to support Dr Bartlow while not making a statement defending the conduct in question? How can people make an informed decision when you don’t take the time to tell them the facts?
    The firing concerns ONLY the placement of the mural. It was either right to do or not.

    [Reply]

    Lance Reply:

    Can you post where I can sign a petition for a show of support for the dead cop’s family? Thanks in advance.

    [Reply]

  2. Walter-marie Miller on May 19th, 2015 11:06 pm

    Alums! Do not accept the token firing of Bartlow!! It is a diversionary tactic in order for Lovell to try to keep his own job! The number one thing right now for Marquette University: Fire Michael Lovell! Appoint Father Gawronski president!

    [Reply]

    roccolore Reply:

    More Alums are happy because they do not want a copkiller honored.

    [Reply]

    thinkhmm Reply:

    No information here that she was fired. I’m curious myself: was it a firing? A “mutual decision” to resign? Quitting in protest? We haven’t heard Bartlow’s side of the story yet.

    [Reply]

    Walter-marie Miller Reply:

    This is a joke right?

    [Reply]

  3. john mazos on May 19th, 2015 11:15 pm

    Reinstate John McAdams! NOW!

    Lovell needs to do the right thing by Marquette and McAdams!

    [Reply]

  4. Bailers77 on May 20th, 2015 7:34 am

    ““This is extremely disappointing as the mural does not reflect the Guiding Values of Marquette University,””

    Are they sure about that?

    [Reply]

  5. roccolore on May 20th, 2015 9:12 am

    The same Democrats who defend copkillers are usually the first to demand police protection.

    [Reply]

    seamus2 Reply:

    What a ridiculous and unsupportable statement.
    I happen to think the mural subject was a disgrace, but your ignorance and lack of critical thinking skills ties you for second.

    [Reply]

    roccolore Reply:

    Well, liberals have a reputation for having police protection at their pro-Mumia rallies.

    [Reply]

    seamus2 Reply:

    Right. I think that Mumia is the first plank of the Democratic
    Party’s platform.
    Are you really this thick or do you just like playing the fool?

    roccolore Reply:

    The only fools in this case are those who defend copkillers like Joanne Chesimard and Wesley Cook.

    seamus2 Reply:

    Okay you really are as stupid as you sound, but at least now you’re admitting it.
    Thanks for playing.

    roccolore Reply:

    Since when is speaking out against honoring a copkiller stupid?

    seamus2 Reply:

    Read what you wrote. Your comments weren’t about speaking out against a cop killer. They were about demonizing Democrats, and then liberals. You can’t even keep track of your own feeble ideas.
    Try looking up “straw man argument”.

    Lance Reply:

    seamus2, since roccolore hasn’t mentioned so, you’ll be happy to know that your elitism is shining through brightly. While roccolore’s comments was simply a very probable statement (that the proponents of this mural are likely democrats and likely liberals), you turned this conversation towards your learned self with defining what Mumia is, by making statements about lacking “critical thinking”, and using classroom buzz words like ‘feeble idea”…and “thick.” Not to mention all of your outright insults, but that’s often what liberals do when they feel cornered. Now on to the topic – these dopey professors say, “did the administration consult with the students before they removed the mural”? Yet, those so-called students failed to do the simplest of research that would have told them this lady is a cop killer. This was no mistake – it was purposeful and good for the level minded administrators for leading the way for the majority of the students. As a parent, I say thank you.

    seamus2 Reply:

    Dude, You need to assemble some semblance of a life for yourself. This stuff was posted a mont ago.
    One would think that with a month to work on your post it would at least have been coherent. Sorry, you missed the mark.

    Lance Reply:

    The point’s been made. There are so many university types like you, seamus.

  6. Jer on May 20th, 2015 9:50 am

    The petition is nonsense. It doesn’t say why she was fired. Misleading by omision.

    [Reply]

  7. Dora on May 20th, 2015 11:05 am

    Perhaps if you educated yourself and looked more into who Assata Shakur was, you’d see that there is more to her story than what social media and incredible professors says

    [Reply]

    Karadion Reply:

    Cop killer. End of discussion.

    [Reply]

    roccolore Reply:

    Unlike the ignorant Democrats, I am educated on who your cop-killer friend with the fake African name really is.

    [Reply]

  8. roccolore on May 20th, 2015 4:45 pm

    Assata Shakur = fake African name for Joanne Chesimard

    [Reply]

  9. Hopalong on May 22nd, 2015 5:04 pm

    McAdams is not a “former professor.” He has been suspended, in all likelihood illegally. The MU community should read what the American Association of University Professors or the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education have to say about his case. The University has been not only heedless of his rights, but incompetent in handling the case. And he’ll be reinstated before too long.

    [Reply]

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