Bellevue College leaders let go after art installation altered

Mar 2, 2020, 3:46 PM | Updated: 3:46 pm

Image: Bellevue College...

An image of Bellevue College. (Photo courtesy of Bellevue College)

(Photo courtesy of Bellevue College)

The Bellevue College VP of Advancement, Dr. Gayle Barge, acknowledged the removal of part of the description in an art installation about Japanese American imprisonment.

Monday, following an apology from the college, Barge and Bellevue College President Jerry Weber have been let go, effective immediately.

The Board of Directors said in a press release, they believed action was necessary.

“The recent defacement of the ‘Never Again Is Now’ art installation along with the response to this deplorable act has deeply impacted students, staff and faculty,” said Board Chair Richard Fukutaki. “It has damaged the credibility of the college locally, regionally and nationally. But beyond that, it was just fundamentally wrong, and we needed to act decisively.”

The removed sentence from the mural’s description has been replaced.

Dr. Kristen Jones has been appointed to Acting President. Jones has been with the college for two years, and was serving as Provost for Academic and Student Affairs.

The board announced that they will launch a nationwide search for a permanent president, with no set timeline expectation.

“Finally, we would again like to publicly apologize on behalf of the college to Seattle Artist Erin Shigaki and the many people negatively affected by the recent events at the college,” Jones said. “We know that these weeks have been difficult. We know that you have been hurt. We promise that we will do a better job of listening and more importantly – ACTING on what we’ve heard in order to honor the diversity of our community.”

Bellevue College completes $200K roadwork project to avoid Metro bus cuts

The Seattle Times reported that leaders believe Barge did not personally remove the reference, but instructed someone else to do so. The investigation is continuing.

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Bellevue College leaders let go after art installation altered