Winthrop Criticized for Reaction to Protest Art

December 9, 2016

By Scott Jaschik at Inside Higher Ed

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education and the National Coalition Against Censorship have written a joint letter to Winthrop University urging that the institution drop disciplinary charges against a student, Samantha Valdez, who participated in creating an art exhibit that was an act of protest over the university maintaining the name Tillman Hall on a campus building. The hall in named for Benjamin Tillman, a 19th-century governor of South Carolina known for his support of racism and lynchings. Valdez and others created an art display, “Tillman’s Legacy,” in which black objects were put on trees outside Tillman Hall. The objects represented some of the lives Tillman was responsible for taking and the people he terrorized. The university said that the artists had no right to set up the display and that doing so was disruptive. But the letter says that the art was a form of protest protected by the First Amendment…

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Schools: Winthrop University Cases: Winthrop University: Student Faced With Spurious Charges, Threats of Expulsion or Suspension for Anti-Lynching Art Installation