Silent protest in Knight Library challenges murals, calling them racist

A group of about 20 silently protested murals at Knight Library on Wednesday. Individuals from the group said that the murals were racist, citing lines from one mural: “The Mission of a University,” and the line in question reads: “It means conservation and betterment not merely of our national resources but also of our racial heritage and opportunity to the lowliest.”

A sign held by a member of the group said, “Take it down or we will.” Another read, “Hate is not our heritage.”

The group began protesting the murals of Knight Library at around 4 p.m. and sat on the steps on the West stairwell.

This group is not involved with another effort led by Francesca Smith to remove one of Knight Library’s murals. Smith wanted to remove the “title” mural initially and is now working as a student representative on the Knight Library Task Force.

“In my opinion, petitions are not necessarily the most effective means of achieving justice,” said Caroline Crisp, a senior studying philosophy at the University of Oregon. She said that the group had seen the petition circulating and added that she doesn’t want to undermine Smith’s effort.

“I have no idea why the University of Oregon thinks it’s important to keep them up,” Crisp said. “There’s really only one option, and that’s to take [them] down.”

A man named Eli, who asked not to use his last name, is another in this group, and he said that one of the big points is “at least” covering the murals in the meantime while they’re being discussed.

“It shows the indigenous people at the bottom of this tree,” Eli said, “and it’s implied we cast away our own primitive roots and became modern. It associates people of color with primitiveness and white people with technology and intelligence.”

Three individuals from the group spoke with the Dean of the Libraries, Adriene Lim, about the murals.

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Ryan Nguyen

Ryan Nguyen

Ryan ("Nayr" ) Nguyen is the podcast editor. He's a sophomore who is studying journalism and computer information technology, aka making pretty websites.

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