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Yale University Censors Historical Artwork Deemed ‘Hostile’

Administrators at Yale University have opted to censor a historical piece of art depicting Native Americans and Puritans, according to an article in the institution’s alumni magazine.

A stone carving on Yale University’s campus has been modified this month over concerns that it is a “hostile” piece of art. The carving depicts a moment of struggle between a Puritan and a Native American.

If you were especially observant during your years on campus, you may have noticed a stone carving by the York Street entrance to Sterling Memorial Library that depict a hostile encounter: a Puritan pointing a musket at a Native American (top). When the library decided to reopen the long-disused entrance as the front door of the new Center for Teaching and Learning, says head librarian Susan Gibbons, she and the university’s Committee on Art in Public Spaces decided the carving’s “presence at a major entrance to Sterling was not appropriate.” The Puritan’s musket was covered over with a layer of stone (bottom) that Gibbons says can be removed in the future without damaging the original carving.

The Native American is equipped with a bow and arrow, while the Puritan is equipped with a musket. Since the modification, the carving has been changed to conceal the musket. Despite the change, the Native American’s bow remains.

According to The College Fix, the decision was made by head librarian Susan Gibbons and Yale’s Committee on Art in Public Spaces in an effort to “better represent the diversity of the Yale community through the art and other symbolic representations found around campus.”

The change follows a series of efforts to modify artwork on campus. Last year, dining services worker Corey Menafee kept his job after destroying a stained-glass window at the college that depicted slaves with a broomstick. The destruction of the window led to Yale’s decision to change the name of a residential college that honors a 19th-century alumnus who was a supporter of slavery.

 

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