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!

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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.

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* 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?”

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

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* 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.

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* 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.”

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statue

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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