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Sunday, June 16, 2024
The Observer

An open letter to Fr. Jenkins

Dear Fr. Jenkins,Your decision to cover the murals of Christopher Columbus’ life and work in the main corridor of the Main Building is specious.To cover the murals with a “woven material” allows for a full reversal of your action when the political winds return to an 1884 perspective of Columbus and the missionaries who followed in his path to bring Christianity to the native populations of the Americas.  If you honestly believe that Christopher Columbus has done egregious harm to our hemisphere, our country or our University, then as a leader with courage of your convictions, you should permanently remove the murals by painting or plastering them over. Being lukewarm is worse than making no decision.But may we remind you of a quote published in Crux News that you made in the context of a more current and serious issue: “There is a tendency, and I don’t think it’s a helpful tendency in this kind of situation to turn the perpetrators (i.e., Cardinal McCarrick and other accused clerics) into monsters.” Shouldn’t you apply this rationale and propose a similar allowance for Columbus and his followers, instead of this disingenuous covering of his murals? Please reflect further that your action imparts an unnecessary insult to those alumni and alumnae of Italian-American and Spanish-American heritage and members of the Knights of Columbus, and an extraneous distraction for our University.We hope you will reconsider.Sincerely,

Martha and William A. Dodd Jr., Class of 1962

Jan. 24

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.