Private = harassment / public = fair comment

The following news item was circulated this morning in the Academica Top 10:

CapilanoU removes instructor’s sculpture from campus, alleging harassment

Capilano University has removed from campus a sculpture that it says is “intended to belittle and humiliate” its President, Kris Bulcroft. However, the CapilanoU instructor who created the statue says that his work is being held hostage. George Rammell created the 2-metre caricature of Bulcroft draped in the American flag and holding her poodle to protest cuts to several programs at the institution. He says the sculpture, entitled Blathering on in Krisendom, is satire “in the tradition of the way the British satirized Margaret Thatcher.” But Jane Shackell, Board Chair at CapilanoU, said in a statement that “the effigy has been used in a manner amounting to workplace harassment of an individual employee.” Rammell had installed his sculpture at the university’s studio art gallery before it was removed. The administration has offered to return the sculpture to Rammell on the condition it “not be returned to campus.” Globe and Mail | Georgia Straight | North Shore News

I do not know anything about this situation other than what is included here, but one thing stands out: the university president, certainly on her own campus, is a public figure. As such, satiric references to her are fair comment. “Harassment of an individual employee” does not come into it. She’s the president, she made unpopular decisions, the community responds. Take it on the chin, President Bulcroft, and move on.

[I wonder if Rammell takes commissions?]


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