Jennifer Kabbany, College Fix, January 21, 2019
Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins announced Sunday that Columbus’s arrival to the new world “was nothing short of a catastrophe” for the native peoples.
“Whatever else Columbus’s arrival brought, for these peoples it led to exploitation, expropriation of land, repression of vibrant cultures, enslavement, and new diseases causing epidemics that killed millions,” Jenkins stated.
With that, the murals — painted on the walls of the Catholic university’s main building in 1884 — will be covered and a committee established to decide their longterm fate.
The murals have been a source of contention on campus for years, with some students, employees and members of the Notre Dame community calling for their removal, saying they are Notre Dame’s “own version of a Confederate monument.”
The 12 murals, hung in the same hallway as the admissions office, depict Christopher Columbus’ journey and arrival to the Americas in 1492. The founder of the university, Father Edward Sorin, commissioned Vatican painter Luigi Gregori to create murals that would inspire, uplift, educate, and be “didactically Catholic,” according to a university pamphlet that attempts to put the paintings in context to visitors.
One of the 12 murals celebrating Christopher Columbus
“We are calling on the University of Notre Dame to act quickly to overturn this decision and proudly display the remarkable artwork depicting Christopher Columbus,” said Luke Jones, chairman of Young Americans for Freedom at the University of Notre Dame.
“At an institution of higher education, students should not be shielded by drapes from ideas they may disagree with in the name of political correctness. If the university continues to cater to groups who claim offense, at what point will the censorship on campus stop? Will the Vietnam War Memorial be next?”