Remember the little architectural joke detail near a previously-little-used entrance to Yale’s Sterling Memorial Library that, what with impending more frequent passage of more visitors, earlier this month, was deemed problematically guilty of endorsing European oppression of Native Americans, as well as triggering to hoplophobes, by the powers that be in the library administration, resulting in the Puritan with the blunderbuss being covered over by a large rock, but the sneaky redskin left perfectly free to stalk his adversary with a bow-and-arrow?
The Yale Daily News reports that merely covering half the image with a rock has been found to be inadequate.
Yale will remove from Sterling Memorial Library a stone carving that depicts a Puritan holding a musket to the head of a Native American, University officials announced Tuesday.
The announcement comes in the wake of widespread criticism of Yale for initially covering the musket with removable stonework. The concealment of the musket was first reported by the Yale Alumni Magazine on Aug. 9.
Rather than alter the image, the University now plans to move the stonework â€” which is located near the entrance to the recently renovated Center for Teaching and Learning â€” to an as-yet-undecided location where it will be available for study and viewing.
You have to hand it to the Yale Administration.
The decision to cover the musket was made by employees in Yaleâ€™s facilities division who were involved in the renovation of the Center for Teaching and Learning, said Vice President for Communications Eileen Oâ€™Connor.
â€œThey were told to figure out how to remove it, and they thought it was going to be too difficult to remove,â€ Oâ€™Connor said. â€œSo they thought, â€˜We know itâ€™s controversial, weâ€™ll figure it out, weâ€™re can-do people, and we will cover it.â€™â€
Oâ€™Connor declined to name the Yale officials involved in that decision. But she said the employees were unaware of the Universityâ€™s principles for renaming, which were outlined in a report released last December.
The report stipulates that the University should contextualize renaming decisions to avoid â€œerasing history.â€ The covering of the musket contradicted that principle, Yale officials say.
In a statement on Tuesday, University President Peter Salovey said Yale should not â€œmake alterations to works of art on our campus.â€
â€œSuch alteration represents an erasure of history, which is entirely inappropriate at a university,â€ Salovey said. â€œWe are obligated to allow students and others to view such images, even when they are offensive, and to study and learn from them.”
They are not “altering” the work of art that is Sterling Memorial Library. They are not “erasing history.” No, no, no, they are merely “moving” it “to an as-yet-undecided location where it will be available for study and viewing.”
One expects that it won’t be all that long before people guilty of Wrong Think will not be exiled or purged, they will just be “moved to an as-yet-undecided location [one much resembling Siberia] where they will be available for study and viewing.”