Saturday, May 17, 2014

Central Connecticut State University Destroys Student Murals on Public Property

I found this update today in my headline feed:

And I wrote a letter to CCSU President, Jack Miller. 

Mr. Miller;

As an alumna of Central Connecticut State University, a former employee of CCSU's Art Galleries, and a Master of Arts in Art and Design History, I find the University's action of destroying thoughtful and esthetic works of art on public grounds disgraceful and humiliating.

This action could be undertaken only by an authoritarian or coward who has no other way to make a mark on the community he is said to serve except to engage in a radical exercise of pedagogic narcissism. Many of the works in question reflect topics and issues these students pursue through their education and study. Do you really feel threatened by a math student who finds beauty in string theory? In destroying these murals, you are saying that there is no room for creative learning or interdisciplinary development at CCSU.

Congratulations on undermining the student population in the Art Department and embarrassing the University generally with this obscene and petty action. I now feel ashamed to associate myself with the institution and have lost any hope that CCSU creates an environment of free thinking, critical inquiry, or informed self expression among its diverse body of students and faculty alike.

Shame on you.
Krista Azzara
CCSU Graduate 1993, BA English Literature
Kingston University Graduate, 2008, MA Art and Design History

Update May 16

This email arrived in my inbox yesterday from Mike Alewitz, Professor of Art at CCSU.

Dear Friends,
You are among dozens, if not hundreds, of concerned individuals that have written to stop the wanton destruction of our murals.  I have posted a selection of these at:
In response to the flood of protests against the mural destruction, President Jack Miller of CCSU is sending the following or a similar message:
“There seems to be some false information being spread by people.  The facts are simply these.  It is a longstanding written policy of the University to remove murals after each semester, although we normally don't do it that often, nor have we in this case.  We do it mainly so that new murals can be painted by our students.”
“It is not true. They are periodically “destroyed” which means painted over so students can paint new ones. This is done by longstanding policy and everyone is aware of that policy. Thanks for your interest."

There has never been a time, in the fourteen years of the program, that murals been painted out to provide space for other students.  There are thousands of empty walls and numerous buildings that have no murals at all. 
There is no policy calling for the periodic destruction of murals.  The rare removal of a mural was always done in consultation with faculty.
Neither I, nor the students, were notified prior to the destruction.
President Miller’s statement to you, and similar comments to the press, is completely untrue.

Thank you for supporting academic and artistic freedom!

Updated 5-22:


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