Saint Louis University to Erect Monument Honoring Anti-Police Protest

Nathan Rubbelke, College Fix, February 3, 2015

Saint Louis University has commissioned a sculpture to be erected on campus that administrators say they hope “captures the spirit and importance” of a weeklong “Occupy SLU” protest last fall on the urban campus that decried oppression, racism, racial profiling and police tactics.

For six days in mid-October, community activists refused to leave the St. Louis campus in a protest intended as an extension of the summertime riots that had wracked nearby Ferguson over the police shooting of Michael Brown.

Three social justice groups–Tribe X, the Metro St. Louis Coalition for Inclusion and Equality, and the Black Student Alliance–took over the campus and lived in tents around its clock tower.

Flying an upside-down American flag, they gave speeches and “teach ins” on topics such as “conscious awakening, systematic oppression, white supremacy, and students’ responsibility to the community,”according to a YouTube video that documented the demonstration.

The demonstrators left only after the university agreed to all 13 of their demands, one of which was a “mutually agreed upon commissioned artwork.”

That agreement has now been dubbed the “Clock Tower Accords” by campus leaders of the private, Jesuit university, who recently announced they have “commissioned renowned African American artists and sculptors Kyle and Kelly Phelps to design a sculpture that captures the spirit and importance of the demonstration and encampment at Saint Louis University on October 13-18, 2014.”

In an email to The College Fix, university President Fred Pestello said the university does not have a decided design or a designated spot yet for the monument.

“Once we have final agreement on the nature and size of the sculpture we will begin to consider a location. The most obvious place is somewhere near the clock tower where the encampment took place,” he said.

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The sculpture is one of a handful of the 13 demands that could come at a high price tag for the university. Other major budgetary demands agreed to include the establishment of both a community center and a K-12 bridge program, the appointment of a special assistant to the president for diversity and community engagement, and an increased budget for the university’s African-American studies program.

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