Should IU remove the KKK mural in Woodburn Hall?
A petition is asking President McRobbie to remove the 9th panel of the Benton Murals
A new petition circulating the student body of Indiana University calls to remove the historic murals that cover the walls of Woodburn Hall — and no, this is not a Parks and Recreation reference.
Created in 1993 by artist Thomas hart Benton, the controversial mural depicts hooded Klan members burning a cross. While many other historic scenes are portrayed, the murals have always been controversial for depicting images of the KKK.
The petition says that the panel "violates the student rights and code of ethics be forcing students (and faculty) of color to work and study in an environment that promotes a group known for discriminating against people of color, homosexuals, non Christians, and various other marginalized groups of people."
This is not the first time this particular scene has been under fire. When the painting was originally commissioned in the '90s, the Eskenazi museum of art fought to leave out the part about the KKK. However, then President Adam Herbert argued that it's important to show both positive and negative sides of history.
In light of recent events that transpired in Charlottesville, the petition, created by Jacquline Barrie, disagrees. "While it is important to be aware of the history of Indiana the KKK is still active throughout the state of Indiana," the author of the petition argued. "The mural does not mark a time in history of Indiana because it is still extremely relevant today."
Several IU students and professors left comments on the petition sharing collective disdain for the murals' existence.
The petition currently has nearly 800 signatures with the goal of reaching 1,000 before delivering it to the IU Board of Trustees.