Faculty Firing at Hamline University

From Censorpedia

Hamline U-Seal.svg.png

Artist: Rashid-al-Din

Year: 2022, 2023

Date of Action:

Region: North America

Location: St. Paul, Minnesota

Subject: Religion

Medium: Painting

Confronting Bodies: Hamline University

Description of Artwork: The first painting was from the 14th century from a manuscript commissioned by a Sunni Muslim ruler Rashid-al-Din in Persia, which is part of a series of illustrations narrating and commemorating Muhammad's prophecy titled A Compendium of Chronicles. The second painting was from the 16th century of a haloed Muhammad in a veil.

The Incident: In the class syllabus, and on the day of the lecture, the professor, Erika Lopez Prater, gave students clear notification that imagery depicting Muhammad would be shown, and offered an option to avoid seeing it. The adjunct professor included the two images of the paintings in her presentation after the two warnings. Following the lecture, a student complained about the inclusion of the images to university authorities following a direct conversation with the professor.

Results of Incident: The university's Associate Vice President for Inclusive Excellence (AVPIE) declared the classroom exercise "undeniably inconsiderate, disrespectful and Islamophobic." The president of the university and the AVPIE sent a message to all employees stating, "respect for the observant Muslim students in that classroom should have superseded academic freedom." Hamline University refused to renew the contract of the adjunct professor in retaliation for her inclusion of the two artworks depicting the Prophet Muhammad in her global art history class.

The university later pointed out that their response was "flawed" in using the word Islamophobic. They then cited their support for academic freedom for Hamline faculty. Professor Lopez Prater has since filed a lawsuit, claiming her career and reputation have been seriously damaged.