Vandals vandalize library

I love a good de-statufication as much as the next guy. And dragging its de-nosed carcass up the steps of Johnson Hall? That was an awesome coup de grace. Respect.

But throwing red paint at the library? Really? This is junior-high school lame. In the Daily Emerald here:

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48 Responses to Vandals vandalize library

  1. Anonymous says:

    Clearly what’s lacking from the modern world another middle-aged white man’s opinion about what forms of protest are acceptable. Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts about this, your perspective is incredibly valuable and your voice deserves to be heard.

    • uomatters says:

      Thanks, always happy to help. Feel free to keep reading about my opinions on this blog, or not.

      • honest Uncle Bernie says:

        Hey, if it’s good enough for the statues, why not the library? What will be next, the rare books collection? Just a bunch of old dead white male stuff, almost exclusively. That slaveowner Aristotle, and the rest. And can we rename the Knight Library yet? Practically built on slave labor, I hear, some faculty members said so a while back. And after that the music school is just a short walk. All that Eurocentric patriarchal stuff. A lot of systemic racism to dispatch. I know, it can’t be condoned, but there is all that work of equity and inclusion at stake.

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank you for the suggestion! I’d ideally like to read opinions from people similarly positioned as you but have diverse backgrounds. Perhaps you could point me in the direction of a blog written by a tenured economist who is non white? Maybe there’s an African American in your department that I could speak with to get their perspective? Or maybe you could let one of your African American graduate students do a guest blog here?

        • honest Uncle Bernie says:

          There are a number of outspoken more or less conservative academics you might look into. With different slants on things than the usual academic stuff. I suggest John McWhorter (his recent stuff on police brutality in Quillette was great), Shelby Steele, Walter Williams, others. These are some of the people who would bring REAL diversity to the imploding academic echo chamber.

          • honest Uncle Bernie says:

            I meant to note, all of these black academics.

            • just different says:

              You meant to note, these are more or less all of the more or less conservative black academics.

              • apt says:

                Yea, HUB was quite predictable on the go-to list of Black conservative thinkers, but, and speaking of economists, where’s Tom Sowell HUB?

                • honest Uncle Bernie says:

                  Sowell is one of them, though it always annoyed me that he bugged out of academia at a relatively early age.

                  There’s a young guy, a grad student at Columbia, that I like.

              • honest Uncle Bernie says:

                There are others, and a few who aren’t established yet.  But it really doesn’t matter whether there are a lot or a few.  Solzhenitzyn was a fairly solitary figure, so was Pasternak.  The ones I listed are worth reading.  McWhorter’s telling in Quillette of the story of Tony Timpa at the hands of the police was eye-opening, and heart-rending.  

                • apt says:

                  Dang HUB, I’m scratching my head on trying to remember the name of the young man you’re referring to who wrote as a Columbia grad for Quillette. Philosopher, right? Maybe I’m forgetting because, like many on your list, their logic and intelligence is sharp, but their starting points, their foundations, are what I often have issue with and also leave me scratching my head. If you have time, and like when I was an undergrad, I read Sowell alongside Cedric Robinson. Or reading McWhorter alongside Hortense Spillers.

          • Just checking says:

            I’m confused – those Black academics HUB notes aren’t at UO. Uncle Bernie, was there another Black academic faculty, grad student, staff in your department in whose opinion you’d be interested? The people presumably affected by statues and other visible items here on campus?
            BTW, the comment from Apt is noted, thank you for writing.

            • honest Uncle Bernie says:

              Well, I myself am descended from people whom some of the old Oregonians tried to keep out. Some rather vicious stuff pretty recently, actually.

            • honest Uncle Bernie says:

              As for the black academics I mentioned — they are not here — maybe invite them? Shelby Steele’s identical twin Claude was here — they have interesting differences.

          • Tim says:

            I’d say: Thomas Sowell–huge output, lots of online interviews. Glenn Loury. Coleman Hughes. Yes, John McWhorter. (All three of these do podcasts, sometimes together.) Shelby Steele. Walter Williams. Thomas Chatterton Williams. David Johnson (On police shootings). There are more. Some of these are old-style liberals who have been stranded by the tide.

    • just different says:

      “Acceptability” is not what’s at issue here. Throwing paint is a cowardly and childish way to make a rather weak point. It’s not much of a protest if the only thing it accomplishes is someone else having to clean up after you.

    • Different Anonymous says:

      Yeah, no, in the grand scheme of things you’d have a point about which perspectives we need how many more of, but maybe that’s not the most *critical* point here?

      The mural in that library is the only portion of a demand I’ve seen of late that I really find issue in. Particularly, I tend to think what we need to be doing is moving stuff that honors or glorifies a horrible past from prominent public spaces (like that statue the other week) to places which house history, where there is room to provide appropriate context. The thing is, a library IS a kind of place where you house history and add context to educate future generations about it, so I don’t really think this is a great place to put the focus.

      Deady Hall? Yeah, I feel bad for whoever’s name gets stuck on such a horrible building, but denaming that makes perfect sense.
      The statues in prominent public space so central to campus? Please, see them gone.
      Dedicated funding? Seems as legit (or, possibly, more so) as any other thing we dedicate dollars to.
      Hiring more diverse faculty? Expanding specific programs? I mean, we might encounter a chicken/egg problem with the *availability* of the faculty, but I generally support the aim.

      Remove a mural in a library? Okay, hold on, it’s not like it was installed last week. I may have my general dislikes for the whole “historic building” thing when it gets in the way of stuff, and still I think something that’s been in a library that long can justifiably be handled in a different way from just tearing the whole thing down.

      Libraries house information. It feels at least *as* appropriate as considering removing the mural to instead find ways to obstruct it with context. It’s not exactly like one just takes a wall and moves it from a building into a museum, we can’t really just relocate it in-tact the way a statue or monument can be. I would argue, given it is already located in a building that houses information, it would be reasonable to present new information in front of the mural. Place a clear statement right in front of it, acknowledging the history and condemning the horrific state of the time it reflects.

      If a library isn’t the right place to ensure we keep our history so we know better than to repeat it, then where exactly *is* the right place?

      • uomatters says:


      • New Year Cat says:

        Also like!

        • uomatters says:

          Thanks for this link – and also a request that when people post links they add a little context about the link. I know I don’t always do this myself, but it really helps readers, particularly if they are just coming to a thread. Thanks, UOM Chief Style Editor.

          • Just checking says:

            Adriene Lim left the libraries in intellectually great shape. Following the links above, the text of the mural was abstracted from a 1909 speech by Young, here:
            It’s worth reading the whole thing, especially in current context about Wilson and Princeton. The text about race is in the last paragraph, though, and not entirely clear. There is also an interesting section about the need for vocational training.

            • riff says:

              Knight Library has been a clusterf*ck for years, since Lim stumbled into the headlines with the firings shortly after she arrived most likely. Her departure matched perfectly with her five-year evaluation… you wonder why? It came as a shock to no one with knowledge of the library.

              Half-baked re-orgs with half-follow-through left staff unable to talk with any authority about where they work… their desk is often under a department name that hasn’t been used for years. Improvement suggestions are squashed as “unsustainable.” Data collection on whether they might be sustainable is squashed as “unsustainable.” Gaslighting, information hoarding, employee cliques around pop culture (Dr. Who-gives-a…), rumors, gossip, fear, loathing… all kinds of workplace toxicity.

      • anonymous new alumnus says:

        Walking past the wall racism in various libraries was psychologically damaging as a student at the UO.

        It sucked and negatively impacted my education and experience.

        It’s creepy to defend it!

        • Different Anonymous says:

          To be clear, I do not try to defend the racist messaging. I agree it’s bad, I absolutely agree leaving it as it is would not be the right course of action. As with many remnants of a horrible past, just leaving these things in a prominent place as originally made is wrong, and I get the sense we agree there.

          To my understanding, “mural” here refers to the entire contents of that wall, and there’s a mural on each end of that entryway? (If that is not the case, we may be talking about different scopes of action, and that might be *very* relevant to where our thoughts on the topic diverge.) Where I see an issue is that removal of entire walls is a fairly extensive action, and I would suggest it is only one possible action out of a few available choices.

          I will absolutely call the Libraries out for acting too slowly here. Doing nothing for so long (even after previous attempts to address part of one mural) is not okay, and some action ought have been taken sooner. Adriene Lim’s response was definitely inadequate, and she certainly had enough time to “advocate” for placing enough context here, yet somehow everything remained completely unchanged.

          At the same time, demanding its complete destruction as an immediate action comes across to me as a reckless move. I think trying to remove a historic artifact in a building explicitly designed to hold history is a great way to make enemies of lots of people who would otherwise agree with the general cause. I think we can accomplish the general goal of denouncing the racist message and clearly altering its presence in a way that draws importance to challenging a racist past, while not making enemies of those who put a high value on retaining all history.

          Tearing down statues out in public is much easier to work with, those were prominently placed and we literally have an admin building’s construction that was influenced by those statues. Tearing down an entire walls in a library, I feel like the effort spent and the cost paid to accomplish that is not going to yield the return that one would hope for. Obstructing the mural with clear denouncements of what it stands for should accomplish nearly the same positive effect for now, at a dramatically lower cost.

          I get the sense we have the same end goal, or at least similar enough end goals that the difference is far less than the distance we have to go to get there. Please, do not mistake my concern for an effort to defend this wall. I merely seek to address it in what way I best recognize as the optimal gain for the least cost. Complete removal with no intermediate steps strikes me as a way to take one step forward while being knocked back several feet. I suggest and seek alternatives to complete and immediate removal in hopes to find a better balance.

      • riff says:

        Or just cover it with a large textile art piece from a 21st century Kara-Walker-esque artist. Two art pieces, one commenting on the other (or not) across time, one “out of sight, out of mind,” both preserved for future generations.

  2. New Year Cat says:

    I bet it felt really fun to throw the paint, and really important to voice an opinion, however obscure the reference. But it doesn’t actually solve a damned thing, and if the goal is to change minds and cultures, this is not the way to do it. Some people will look at this and feel quite vindicated in their opinions about the vandals, which kind of defeats any noble purpose that was planned to come out of this childish and ignoble act. The perpetrators might want to actually come in as far as the library book stacks, when it’s possible again, to find out that their heritage is also in there. And if there is not enough of it, do some research and write the damned history book yourself.

  3. CallMeNaive says:

    Who’s Charlie? And why does Schill hate him?

    • uomatters says:

      I suggest reading Christian Hill’s story about Charlie Landeros in the RG, here:

      • CallMeNaive says:

        Thank you. I remember the story, I had forgotten about their part in the protest of Schill’s State of the University and the resulting disciplinary action. I imagine there is going to be a lot more ‘violations’ of the code of conduct in the months and years to come. I think President Schill is going to need to learn how to take some criticism. While I certainly don’t advocate vandalism, is seems as though some of the issues Schill has tried to brush aside (Deady denaming, addressing symbols of our racist past, unchecked financial negligence, etc.) are rearing their ugly heads. I guess one could say his ducks are coming home to roost.

  4. apt says:

    I hear from students of color how it makes them feel and I want to be supportive of them.

    But for me personally, it’s a different thing. The first time I saw it (as a grad), I was like yep, another reminder of how dark-skinned folks are seen and valued. I didn’t even think of anything like a possibility of a protest over it nor did I have anyone I felt the need to even talk to about it. I get reminders all the time how deeply racism is embedded in my daily life. And I don’t ever want to fall into a false sense of security. Hell, I’ll go as far as to say yea, keep it up, because when folks put that up, they would have never imagined this dude would be faculty. But here I am. And that’s not “progress,” that’s a fuck you.

    • honest Uncle Bernie says:

      apt, the name of the black Columbia student is Coleman Hughes. His writings easy to find.

  5. Grumpy says:

    The racist murals already had an explanation of how effed up they were AND they were finally going to be covered by end of summer. See the statement on the library front page:
    This nonsense just means staff had to clean up afterwards and money gets spent on replacing glass and locking up what should be open and accessible.

  6. Anas clypeata says:

    Kids these days just don’t know how to get their hands on a horse. Now that was a protest.

  7. charlie says:

    Thing is, of all the flagship’s assets, the library was the one most accessible to the public. With nothing more than a Eugene public library card, one could borrow books from the all libraries, including law and science. Given the current economic situation, the near impossibility of middle class Oregonians to attend their public unis without massive debt, vandalizing the one element that allows anyone the capacity to become self taught is very stupid…

  8. Crystal Ball says:

    I can make three predictions of what those types of activities will lead to:
    1. There will be more racists in America than before. There is no better fuel for the confirmation bias than watching stores looted, libraries vandalized, statues removed etc.
    2. There will be more guns sold than ever before. I never owned a gun, but now I need one to protect my family because police failed to control the criminals
    3. There will be a bunch of white (and some blacks too) folks who will be making money and careers exploiting the BLM agenda. Yet the economic and social state of the blacks in the US will continue to be abysmal unless those communities actually do something about that without assigning blame to others by assuming personal responsibility. That is highly unlikely to happen though.

  9. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    Another black conservative who hasn’t been mentioned here to my knowledge is Robert Woodson. He is a MacArthur award winner and has provocative thibgs to say about historical black enterprise, welfare, social structures.

    I think there ard about a dozen mentioned by various people. As far as I know, none has ever been to campus. Talk about lack of diversity!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Obviously, anything is now acceptable, at least if you mouth the appropriate “justification.”

    Tear down statues, deface buildings, curse and scream at police officers, block highways, burn businesses. Your rage is all the “justification” that’s needed for ANY action you might choose to

    People are observing these tantrums, which I’m sure is part of the reason why people are indulging in these destructive acts:
    they want attention, they want to feel “powerful.”

    It’s easy to destroy or tear down (but hard to create and build up)
    so do what’s easy.

    Most locals (as opposed to perpetrators) ultimately often don’t
    seem to like the outcomes:

    — Tell the police they’re not welcome and should be defunded?

    Okay, police will get the message and stay out of your
    neighborhoods. Is anyone REALLY surprised when crime goes
    up? (and we’re not talking minor crime here, we’re talking about
    things like people of color shooting other people of color, or even
    killing young children) A hundred people have reportedly been
    shot in Minneapolis since George Floyd was killed ( )

    — Burned-out businesses decide, “Hmm, you know what, it was
    a soft market due to COVID-19 anyhow, guess we just won’t
    rebuild in that neighborhood.” Oh well. Doesn’t matter to the
    rioters, only the people trying to live in that neighborhood.

    “But those businesses were insured! That should pay for them to
    rebuild!” No, actually, in many cases it won’t be enough, not nearly enough (particularly if policies had specific exclusions for
    civil unrest/riot-related damage). What insurers DO end up
    paying out, they will certainly recover in higher premiums (if
    they continue to offer coverage in riot-prone areas at all).

    — Create cities that feel like unsafe to visitors? Tourists get
    the message.

    They’ll go elsewhere, and take their money (and associated
    jobs) with them. Yeah, I know, who can tell right now because
    of the pandemic, but the pandemic’s not going to last forever.
    Soon many new cities will become like Detroit (when’s the
    last time you heard anyone say, “Gosh! I just can’t wait to
    go on vacation in Detroit!” or “Wow, our meeting is going to
    be held in Detroit? I’ve always wanted to spend a week there!”)

    Memories of Seattle out of control, Portland out of control,
    Atlanta out of control, Minneapolis out of control — those
    impressions are going to last a LONG, LONG time.

    See ya, tourists.

    Wish you were here, convention and business travelers.

    — And then there are the direct impacts. You know all the
    police that get deployed in response to civil unrest? A lot
    of those cops are working overtime. How many millions of
    dollars (that could have been spent on city social programs,
    or parks, or filling in potholes, or offering services to the
    homeless) went to pay for riot control, eh? Millions and
    millions of dollars. (Portland reports $7 million, just to
    mention one specific example, )

    But hey, it’s “justified.” Some old dead white guy lived an
    imperfect life and some artist mistakenly commemorated it.
    You know what to do. You’re justified, whatever you do.

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