As Twitchy reported, a mural honoring Assata Shakur, a convicted cop-killer and fugitive on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List, went up in the school’s Gender and Sexuality Resource Center recently, and came down just about as quickly as publicity spread and administrators at the Jesuit university in Milwaukee, Wis., got a crash course about just who was being celebrated.
Get ready for the real backlash, though, as the university has announced it has severed ties with Susannah Bartlow, the director of the Gender and Sexuality Resource Center who approved the mural.
“Susannah Bartlow is no longer an employee with Marquette University,” university spokesman Brian Dorrington said Tuesday afternoon, Marquette Wire reported. “We will work with the Center’s advisory board to search for a new director so that we can continue to grow the important programs in the Center.”
A petition to keep Bartlow, whose “commitment to promoting diversity and acceptance is unparalleled,” on the Marquette faculty is already in circulation. Expect most signers to argue that Bartlow’s academic freedom has been violated while completely ignoring her honoring of a cop-killer.
Members of the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority who helped paint the mural claimed they were unaware of Shakur’s past and that “proper research wasn’t done,” issuing a statement clarifying that “In no way does the organization of more than 283,000 members condone, promote or tolerate the killing or violent activities of anyone.”
Don’t expect Bartlow to claim ignorance of Shakur’s 1973 “incident” that left New Jersey state trooper Werner Foerster dead. A letter sent to President Obama in 2013, copied to then-Attorney General Eric Holder and co-signed by a long list of people, including Bartlow, urged that Shakur be removed from the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorist List:
There is no evidence that Ms. Shakur has taken part in any violence or threats of violence against civilians to intimidate or coerce changes in government policies. Going back 40 years, the May 1973 incident, which led to her only criminal convictions, was initiated by the New Jersey State Police. They pulled the vehicle she was in off the highway based on an allegedly defective tail light. This type of police action was consistent with tactics used to harass Black people generally, particularly Black males; and, sometimes provoke incidents particularly against members of Black militant organizations during that period. The loss of life on both sides ensuing from that stop was clearly regrettable; and, we do not intend to retry here her controversial trial and conviction before an all white jury.
Finally, this decision continues to racialize the United States criminal punishment system, a system that since the enslavement of African peoples has targeted Africans and African Americans for harsher punishments than those given particularly to similarly situated whites. The accusation of terrorism has fallen prey to this continuing travesty of making the color of “crime,” now the color of “terrorism,” black.