Alumni Want Statue Removed

April 9, 2018

Since last May, Samantha Skaller and Seth Quam, alumni of Syracuse University, have been trying to get their alma mater to remove a statue of Jim Brown, a famous Syracuse football player who had been accused of physical and sexual assault.

According to The Daily Orange, while Brown was considered one of SU's greatest football players, and recognized for his activism work with the black community, he was also investigated for six acts of violence against women and one act of rape. Quam and Skaller have asked that the university take down Brown's statue and revoke the Arents Award he received in 2016.

“Through the tremendous courage displayed by the many women coming forward, Jim Brown’s history of sexual and domestic violence became public,” they wrote in a letter to SU in December. “As a community we cannot accept the idolization of a man who has perpetrated numerous acts of interpersonal violence.”

Skaller and Quam asked the university to contact Brown, saying that he needed to be included in the dialogue.

“We need to have multivocality in this,” Skaller said. “We need students’ voices, we need administrators’ voices and we need Jim Brown’s voice, if he wants to provide it.”

On March 28, a spokesperson confirmed that the university has no plans on removing Brown's statue or revoking his award. Chancellor Kent Syverud told Quam and Skaller that “he refuses” to approve any visual representations of any person without confirming that they do not have any history of relationship or sexual violence.

“To me that’s a win,” Skaller said. “Even if the statue and all these visual representations of Jim Brown don’t get taken down, that’s still a win for me.”

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