In the English department at the University of Pennsylvania there has long been a portrait of writer William Shakespeare displayed prominently. But this has come under fire as of late as some have argued that the portrait of Shakespeare is not representative of the diversity which they would like to see at the school.

Although there has already been a vote by the Department to remove the painting in order to support this, students decided to take care of the measure themselves as they tore down the painting which had been displayed. Instead they replaced the image with one of Audre Lorde, who has been a very popular African American author who has been known for her feminist works.

The Department Chair responded to the allegations and confirmed the reports of the removal by stating, “a way of affirming their commitment to a more inclusive mission for the English department,” It is not clear if the Chair condoned the actions or if any issue was taken with the students handling the situation themselves. Jed Esty, the Chair also said the Department does plan to eventually change the new portrait but will keep the current one until then.

The Department released a statement saying they would look to determine who the image should be of to replace the one taken down and will take into account the school and Department’s mission in the “current political climate.”

It is interesting to see how the school administrators have reacted, as they have stated they believe the forceful removal of Shakespeare does in fact line up with University policy and their mission. However, the school does in fact have quite clearly written in their policies that they prohibit “stealing, damaging, defacing, or misusing the property or facilities of the university or of others.”

What do you think about the removal? Should the school respond to these actions?

Let HYPELINE know what you think in the comments!

(h/t Campus Reform)

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Jake Leahy is a Staff Writer for Hypeline News, frequent contributor on 560 the Answer in Chicago, and a student at Deerfield High School (IL). Follow him on Twitter @jakealeahy.


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