College to State Rep: Give Us Our $25,000 Statue Back

Michael Sneed, Chicago Sun-Times, January 22, 2010

Is state Rep. Monique Davis (D-Chicago) one brick short of a load? Sneed has learned Davis, who already is in hot water for a $500,000 bill allegedly owed to the Chicago Board of Education, is now refusing to return a $25,000 sculpture of an African slave, which is owned by Chicago State University!


Sneed is told the life-sized bronze by Colorado-based sculptor David Parvin was purchased five years ago using a segment of state funds appropriated for a student financial aid center at CSU.


* The backshot: The sculpture originally occupied several campus sites before it disappeared.

* The buckshot: It was during a recent audit of the school, which was fiscally mismanaged for years, that the statue was discovered missing.

* The upshot: New CSU President Wayne Watson, who is trying to install better top-to-bottom management, procurement and educational standards, insisted on the statue being returned because it is school property.

* The errant shot: How did the sculpture, titled “Defiance,” wind up in Davis’ possession? Who knows? But Davis, a graduate of CSU, did admit she had the statue when CSU contacted her, according to a school source.

Sneed is told CSU police visited Davis’ office several times to retrieve the 400-pound sculpture–only to be turned away.

* The slingshot: When Sneed contacted Davis Thursday and asked if she had an explanation for how the statue wound up in her office, she retorted: “Nope, don’t have any explanation. I’ve got a call on the other line. Can I call you back?”


“We showed her the documents proving it was Chicago State’s property. But she just refused to let us have the statue.”


* The ultimate slap: “She called last Tuesday [Jan. 12] at 4 p.m. and said we could come pick up the statue. I asked if I could come the next day because I needed the movers–and she said ‘fine.’

“But she called the president’s office about two hours later and changed her mind and said we can’t pick up the statue.


* The final shot: Parvin, who created 21 “Defiance” statues, says: “Black people, especially black women, love this piece. I’ve had women cry over this piece. They are usually surprised when they find out I’m not black.”



Rep. Monique Davis reportedly has Chicago State University’s “Defiance” sculpture (identical to the one at left) and she won’t give it back.


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