WI Arts Board stalls grant for MU museum, citing discrimination concerns

Via the JSOnline:

Citing “serious questions” about alleged discriminatory hiring practices at Marquette University, the Wisconsin Arts Board announced Wednesday that it has deferred action on a grant request by the school’s art museum. The Arts Board action appears to be the first known public effort to impose an economic penalty on Marquette for its decision to rescind its offer of a deanship to Jodi O’Brien, a lesbian scholar at Seattle University.

In a letter written Wednesday to Wally Mason, the director of the Haggerty Museum of Art, Lt. Gov. Barbara Lawton, who is chair of the Arts Board, said the board voted unanimously earlier this month to defer a decision until Sept.11. Lawton’s letter did not specifically mention O’Brien by name, but a spokesman for Lawton’s office confirmed that Lawton was referring to O’Brien.

Marquette announced on May 6 that it was rescinding its offer of the position of dean of the College of Arts and Sciences to O’Brien, citing concerns relating to Marquette’s “Catholic mission and identity” and the university’s incompatibility with some of her writings. Marquette said the decision to rescind the offer had nothing to do with O’Brien’s sexual orientation. In a statement issued a few hours after the letter was released, Marquette said it looked forward to a “continuing conversation” with the Arts Board.

“At the same time, the university emphatically denies any allegations of ‘discriminatory hiring practices’ and regrets the unfortunate way in which the deferred action was announced,” the statement says. Lawton wrote that her board had serious questions suggesting discriminatory hiring practices at Marquette that remain unresolved.

“Board members asked for more time to investigate and ensure that any grant approved was consistent with our mission as the state agency which ‘nurtures creativity, cultivates expression, promotes the arts, supports the arts in education, stimulates community and economic development and serves as a resource for people of every culture and heritage.’ Our clearly stated values include ‘freedom of expression’ and ‘respect and appreciation for all cultures and people,’ ” Lawton’s letter said.

The museum had received a total of $13,585 in fiscal year 2010. The amount for fiscal year 2011, which begins July 1, will not be determined until the September meeting, a Lawton spokesman said.

It’s sad that the Haggerty has to suffer for Wild’s decision. They’re good people there. Those of you still in Milwaukee, try to make time this weekend to stop by, and slip something into the donation box.

I reviewed the museum’s two ongoing exhibits here and here.

One Response

  1. It is sad. I don’t think anything is gained by punishing all of Marquette for Father Wilde!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: