Indiana University is rejecting demands for the removal of a depiction of the Ku Klux Klan from a mural located on campus, claiming that it represents history.
Administrators at Indiana University have decided to keep a controversial section of a mural that depicts the Ku Klux Klan after a petition to have it removed garnered over 1,000 signatures.
“This petition requests the removal of the 9th panel to foster a safe and inclusive environment for all students and faculty at Indiana University as these are in fact modern depictions and not just depictions of a historical time in Indiana,” the petition reads.
The section, which is a part of a 22-panel mural painted by 20th-century artist Thomas Hart Benton, depicts members of the Ku Klux Klan and a burning cross. The mural was painted for the 1933 World’s Fair and included images of the Ku Klux Klan to “show all aspects” of the state’s history.
A statement by Indiana University administrators to the College Fix suggests that the institution feels that the mural serves as a historical reference for atrocities committed by citizens of the state. It “serve(s) as a reminder and testimonial to an unsavory and criminal portion of Indiana’s history,” they said in a statement.
Former Indiana University student Jacquline Barrie is behind the petition that sparked the controversy over the mural. She told the College Fix that the university must act to modify or remove the mural if they want to uphold their commitment to making all students feel welcome on campus.
“My response is this, a university cannot say that they strive for an inclusive environment and a learning environment that supports everyone while also acknowledging that the mural can have a negative impact on students that can effect their ability to focus and learn,” Barrie said.