Campus was no place for ‘Student Body’

On this day in 1991: Paul Hardin, chancellor of UNC Chapel Hill, announces that “The Student Body,” a bronze sculpture labeled racist and sexist by some students, will be moved to a less conspicuous site after being vandalized.

Four of the seven figures have provoked heated opposition: a black man in a basketball uniform spinning a ball on his finger, a black woman carrying books on her head and a woman leaning against her boyfriend as they walk together.

The sculpture by Julia Balk of Westport, Conn., was donated by the Class of ’85 and installed in front of Davis Library.

“As an artist,” Balk says in a letter responding to the criticism, “I am particularly sensitive to the issues of racial inequality, sexism and social discrimination. To denounce these figures with the terms ‘sexism’ and ‘racism’ and ‘-ism’ is to see the sculpture with one’s eyes closed. This work is a celebration of student life and the act of learning.”

Interesting details here, plus photos of the vandalism.


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