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Brian S. Coffey
The “On the Shoulders of Giants” display was vandalized during the week of Feb. 2; a cardboard cutout of President Abraham Lincoln (pictured here) was replaced with a cutout of “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin.
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MLK Diversity Exhibit Vandalized Twice

President Susan J. Hockfield and Prof. J. Phillip Thompson, Chair of the Committee on Race and Diversity, have issued a statement in response to vandalism of the Martin Luther King, Jr. memorial exhibit last month (see right). The annual exhibit consisted of several student-created displays to promote diversity, human rights, and similar principles, and ran from Feb. 2 through Feb. 9 in Lobby 10.

There were two incidents of vandalism, and organizers of the event were not certain exactly when they occurred.

(1) A display entitled “On the Shoulders of Giants” with cardboard cutouts of Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama, and Dr. King was altered. The cardboard cutout of Lincoln was removed and replaced with a cardboard cutout of “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin.

(2) A display about the Palestinian/Israeli conflict was removed in its entirety. Nour J. Abdul-Razzak ’09, who was part of the team that created the display, said that the removal of the display was “not appropriate,” and the perpetrators had “no right to just take something away.” Abdul-Razzak said that her group had tried very hard to be sensitive to concerns on both sides of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

The statement was issued under the auspices of the Committee on Race and Diversity, which formed in 2007 when the Campus Committee on Race Relations joined with the MLK Committee. It is posted on the CRD’s website, at http://web.mit.edu/crd/.

­—John A. Hawkinson