[The following report was adopted by the Faculty Senate on May 7, 1973.]
CONCERNING THE UNIVERSITY CENTER MURAL
STUDENT AFFAIRS COMMITTEE
Censorship--whether it be of ideas, opinions, hypotheses, or artistic expression--has no place in a university, which, by its very definition, is an institution dedicated to the never ending search for knowledge and understanding and to the equally challenging nurture of the creative and aesthetic spirit. Just as a university is false to its nature when it curbs freedom of debate and discussion, so it diminishes its stature when it denies access to a valid work of art, such as the Greenwood Tennessee mural in the University Center Ballroom. Thus, if we act consistent with our obligation as an institution of higher learning, we will uncover the mural, permitting all to see and respond, each in his own way, to the artist's vision.
Yet, the hard fact remains that in the year 1973 a segment of the campus community finds the mural offensive. That there was no intent to offend, that the work represents a fine artist's honest creative expression, that many of the University community in the past have. received pleasure from the mural, and that at present all members of the community are denied an opportunity to interpret for themselves the results of the artist's talent and inspiration are also indisputable facts. How can the University's commitment to freedom of expression and the right of students, faculty, and taxpayers to have access to a work of art be reconciled with a respect for the sensitivity of a portion of our number?
It is inconceivable that the mural should be destroyed; it is incontrovertible that times change and attitudes alter. Thus, we recommend that the committee make a decision to meet the needs of the moment as we perceive them, preserving for our successors the right of choice for their time. Our hope is that a way may be found to uncover the mural and to promote for its safeguard.
Ad Hoc Committee:
LeRoy Graf, Chairman
Connie Ross, Student
Revised statement, Senate Action,
May 7, 1973
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