Sculpture sensationalized

Jessica+Park+%2F+Chief+Illustrator
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Sculpture sensationalized

Jessica Park / Chief Illustrator

Jessica Park / Chief Illustrator

Jessica Park / Chief Illustrator

Jessica Park / Chief Illustrator

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Over the past couple of weeks, the “Clock Tower Accords” have seen a resurgence in critical attention. Of the 13 initiatives stipulated in the agreements, the “mutually agreed upon commissioned artwork” has received a flurry of criticism coming from students and alumni alike.

Articles on collegefix.com, bizjournals.com, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch website and in last week’s edition of the UNews have all commented on the reactions and discussed implications of such a statue on campus.

One article interviewed several SLU alums who were all “raging mad” and were threatening to withhold donations over the sculpture.

The editorial board decided it was time to provide its perspectives on the accords, the sculpture and the reaction this agreement has received by members inside and outside of the SLU community.

Firstly, we discussed what the commissioned artwork would look like based on the information we have received thus far. We know that the artists, brothers Kyle and Kelly Phelps, have typically made smaller sculptures. Based on their past artwork, we believe that it is just as likely that this artwork will sit in the CGC, behind glass casing, as it is that it will be positioned outside, near the clock tower.

In a conversation with the editorial board, Dr. Pestello made it clear that the design, style, location and budget for the proposed artwork are still under discussion.

Some editors discussed hesitance to label the “Clock Tower Accords” a historic moment, while others stated that SLU’s involvement contributed to the larger narrative happening around us.

We also discussed whether the donors’ plans of withholding donations to the University would really make much of an impact. Pestello may have a more difficult time explaining the agreements to older donors, but younger, more sympathetic donors could be more persuaded to donate in comparison to past years.

One question the Editorial Board came back to was why this agreement is the one that is causing such hostility. One editor stated the criticism could be partly attributed to a disdain of the arts by some. Others postulated that it was the physical manifestation of all the other agreements that made the sculpture such an easy target to critique.

Some of the critiques have come from people who have been concerned with what they see as a lack of self-governance. Some alumni questioned why they hadn’t been consulted about the agreements. Some of the editors wondered whether these disgruntled students and alums are similarly angry about the tulips and palm trees planted every year without their permission.

One editor commented that the protest harkened back to the more activist-oriented 1970s and that the current backlash to the protests and agreements is disconcerting. Another added that even though he didn’t agree with everything the protesters said, he was glad they were there.

We eventually agreed that the “artwork” itself is probably misunderstood as a symbol much larger than what it probably will be and the selective anger regarding, of all things, a sculp-ture (SLU’s favorite thing) is a bit hypocritical.