Over 1,000 people have signed a petition demanding that the University halt plans to install a statue on South Lawn.
Last Monday, Columbia Curator of Art Properties Roberto Ferrari first announced plans to place the bronze statue by Henry Moore, titled Reclining Woman, near the entrance of Butler Library. However, there has been an outcry among students who oppose the new statue since the installation process began earlier this week.
The statue measures 9-by-11-by-7 feet and was donated over 20 years ago, according to Ferrari's announcement, but its permanent location was "approved more recently." The announcement did not specify whose approval was necessary to determine the statue's placement, nor did it state when the statue's installation would be complete.
Although the petition was first created on Monday, it has accumulated the majority of its signatures in the past 24 hours after being shared extensively on Facebook, according to Daniel Stone, CC '16, one of the petition's creators.
"People have been sharing it a lot more than I expected," Stone said. "I was very surprised."
Stone said he thinks that regardless of whether students like the sculpture itself, many were put off by the sudden announcement of what he sees as a significant change to Columbia's campus.
"The whole space between Low Library and Butler Library is a very distinctive space on campus," Stone said. "When you say you're going to put something there permanently, that's a very bold move."
In addition to the petition, over 380 students have shown interest in a public Facebook event for a sit-in protest on the statue's platform, scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday. On the event page, many expressed alarm that the planned statue would be placed on one of the only permanently open green spaces on campus.
"It is ridiculous that the administration is choosing to compromise this precious space at all and even more ridiculous that that they've chosen to do this just as spring rolls around," one commenter, Jason Hagani, CC '19, wrote.
Stone said that, although he doesn't plan to attend the sit-in, he believes students will protest because they are frustrated by a lack of transparency surrounding the installation.
"I think it attests to the fact that students feel very strongly about this topic," Stone said. "There's a question of who did what and why this happened. We don't have the answer to that."
A University spokesperson could not immediately be reached for comment.
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