Does a statue of a woman lying with her legs open make this view more or less imposing?

Does a statue of a woman lying with her legs open make this view more or less imposing?

Columbia’s newest addition to its outdoor art collection, to be installed in front of Butler in the coming weeks, has been the source of heated debate on campus in the past week – and, of course, this debate reached last night’s CCSC meeting. Joe Milholland reports on the most recent development in the Statue Discourse.

In Paris early this March, the Columbia University trustees convened and approved placing the statue Reclining Figure by Henry Moore in front of Butler Library. No student was at the meeting, but Deantini was present, and he mentioned the trustee meeting on his Facebook page.

When students found out about this new statue, over 1,200 of them signed an anti-statue petition. This issue, of course, made its way to the Satow Room Sunday night, where the Columbia College Student Council(CCSC) discussed what they should do about the student opposition to the new statue.

Dan Stone, who sparked the movement against the statue, was in attendance that day, and he talked about what was wrong with the statue’s placement.

“The reasons why students haven’t had a chance to give input is that this project was launched very quietly,” said Stone, who noted that it was announced on a little-known blog by the Columbia libraries. Stone added that the space in front of Butler is very significant, and that Moore’s statue does not fit in with the nearby statues, most of which have an overt connection to Columbia or academics.

“Is there a feminist critique of the fact that there’s a woman in a sort of sexual and exposed pose in front of a library with the names of men on its façade?” Stone asked.

Stone also pointed out that about half the people who signed the petition wrote lengthy comments about it. “Some people say ‘the most glorious experience is walking out of Butler after a long night and staring at Low Library.’ Some people have said, ‘As a woman, I’m offended by this.’”

“My personal understanding is that this was not seen as super-controversial until 1,000 students a petition,” said University Senator Marc Heinrich on the controversy. According to Heinrich, the Student Affairs Committee (SAC) discussed the issue recently and has decided that there needs to be more student discussion on the statue’s placement. Heinrich also said that the installation process is very far along and is expected to be completed by commencement.

2018 VP Lani Allen said she recently met a law student who opposed the statue after Allen told her about it, and Allen suggested reaching out to grad students on this issue.

VP of Policy Vivek Ramakrishnan suggested sending out a poll to gauge student opinions on this, and most of CCSC was in favor of that option in a vote. After the poll, CCSC may pass a resolution on this subject.

Updates (CCSC Minutes Doc and CCSC Updates Doc):

  • 2016 VP Charles Sanky brought the subject of declines in TIC to CCSC. According to Sanky, TIC used to promote tickets to events so Columbia students could get out of the Morningside Heights bubble, but now, after a change in leadership, they mostly sell tickets to movie theatres and student events, and they are even moving slowly on student event ticketing.
  • At the end of their meeting, CCSC had a closed discussion on a policy committee update. They also held a closed discussion last week on a senate update.
  • According to Makansi, Heinrcih and University Senator Ramis Wadood also deserve credit for the $7,000 Bacchanal got from Deantini for CAVA and contingent funds.
  • The Class of 2019 is holding a Baked by Melissa study break on 4/20.
  • According to Heinrich, SAC is going to support a set of proposed sustainability principles for Columbia.

The statue’s prospective home via CU Library website