The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 37.0°F | Partly Cloudy
Nicole M. Power

Illustrations in Pritchett Lounge in Walker Memorial were edited by Bexlians after CAC expressed concerns about the “offensive” drawings. In August, former Bexley residents were given the lounge to use as a community space following the closure of Bexley Hall last spring.

Article Tools

Former residents of Bexley Hall had to modify illustrations in the Pritchett Lounge in Walker Memorial last week that were deemed offensive by the Campus Activities Complex (CAC). In August, the former Bexley residents were given use of the room in Walker Memorial, meant to serve as a community space, following the closure of Bexley in May.

According to an email from Campus Activities Complex (CAC) Director Phil J. Walsh, CAC staff entered the room last week in response to a request by a former Bexley Graduate Resident Tutor (GRT) that a recycling bin to be added to the lounge. A number of illustrations, painted on large sheets of paper and taped to the walls, were deemed offensive by the staff and “in violation of the terms for the space.”

The regulations for the use of the space were sent out by CAC when the former Bexley residents officially gained access to the space on Aug. 26. One aspect of these regulations state, “Any alteration or change in the space provided must be done with advanced approval by Residential Life and CAC. Creative expression though artwork and music playing is expected and will require communication and coordination during the early weeks of the program as procedures are established.” It also indicates that “CAC and Residential Life staff will conduct periodic tours of the space to insure its proper and safe utilization.”

Since the Pritchett Lounge is a part of an activity center and not a residence hall, Walsh said that the illustrations had to be removed immediately. The email included photos of the four offending posters but did not provide an indication of what part of the illustrations were in violation.

Two of the illustrations consisted of painted words describing generally sexual content. Another used vulgarity to describe the wall color of the Pritchett Lounge. The final one, a drawing of an octopus or perhaps a squid, was presumably deemed inappropriate due to its resemblance to male genitalia.

Former Bexley residents with access to the room modified rather than removed the posters. The modifications included the changing of certain words and, in the case of the octopus poster, drawings of additional sea wildlife to obscure the offending parts of the picture.

On Monday, Walsh emailed those with access to the lounge to report that the modifications solved the problem. In the message, addressed to one of the representatives of the former Bexley community, Walsh wrote, “You and others have done an impressive job of altering or modifying most of the posters into a non-offensive presentation. That is very much appreciated,” adding, “It is a very impressive gallery of expression throughout Pritchett, and I’m pleased the space is becoming more active for your community.”