Faculty calls on embattled Minnesota college head to resign

Jan 24, 2023, 7:11 PM | Updated: Jan 25, 2023, 12:22 pm
Hamline University Fayneese Miller during an interview Monday, Jan. 23. 2023 in St Paul Minn. The f...

Hamline University Fayneese Miller during an interview Monday, Jan. 23. 2023 in St Paul Minn. The faculty at the Minnesota college is calling for its president to resign for her handling of a Muslim student's objection to a depiction of the Prophet Muhammad being shown in an ancient art course. Faculty leaders at Hamline University say members voted Tuesday, Jan. 24. (Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via AP)

(Jerry Holt/Star Tribune via AP)

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Faculty leaders at a Minnesota college that dismissed an art history instructor who showed depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in a course have overwhelmingly called for the university president to resign.

Faculty leaders at Hamline University said 71 of 92 members who attended a meeting Tuesday voted to call on President Fayneese Miller to resign immediately. They say they lost faith in Miller because of her handling of an objection lodged by a Muslim student who said seeing the artwork violated her religious beliefs.

The adjunct instructor who showed the artwork, Erika López Prater, sued the private liberal arts school last week after it declined to renew her contract.

“It became clear that the harm that’s been done and the repair that has to be done, that new leadership is needed to move that forward,” Jim Scheibel, president of the Hamline University Faculty Council, told the Star Tribune of Minneapolis.

The faculty objected to what they considered a violation of academic freedom.

“We are distressed that members of the administration have mishandled this issue and great harm has been done to the reputation of Minnesota’s oldest university,” the faculty council statement read. It later went on to say, “As we no longer have faith in President Miller’s ability to lead the university forward, we call upon her to immediately tender her resignation to the Hamline University Board of Trustees.”

After criticism from across the country, Miller conceded last week that she mishandled the episode, which sparked a debate over balancing academic freedom with respect for religion.

“Like all organizations, sometimes we misstep,” she said in a joint statement with the chair of the school’s trustees. “In the interest of hearing from and supporting our Muslim students, language was used that does not reflect our sentiments on academic freedom. Based on all that we have learned, we have determined that our usage of the term ‘Islamophobic’ was therefore flawed.”

A Hamline spokesman told the St. Paul Pioneer Press that Miller and her team were discussing how to respond to the faculty vote.

López Prater showed centuries-old artwork depicting the Prophet Muhammad in an October lesson on Islamic art. She said she knew that visual depictions of him violate many Muslims’ faith, so she warned the class ahead of time.

The instructor alleges in her lawsuit that Hamline subjected her to religious discrimination and defamation, and damaged her professional and personal reputation.

The American Association of University Professors, which is devoted to academic freedom, has launched an inquiry and is planning a campus visit next month.

While leaders of some local Muslim groups have criticized López Prater, the national office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations disputed claims that her actions were Islamophobic. The group said professors who analyze images of the Prophet Muhammad for academic purposes are not the same as “Islamophobes who show such images to cause offense.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Protesters gather in front of police headquarters while marching Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in Memphi...
Associated Press

Memphis police disband unit that fatally beat Tyre Nichols

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — The Memphis police chief disbanded the city’s so-called Scorpion unit on Saturday, citing a “cloud of dishonor” from newly released video that showed some of its officers beating Tyre Nichols to death after stopping the Black motorist. Police Director Cerelyn “CJ” Davis acted a day after the harrowing video emerged, saying […]
1 day ago
FILE - Conservative Party chairman Nadhim Zahawi leaves the Conservative Party head office in Westm...
Associated Press

UK leader fires party chairman over tax bill allegations

LONDON (AP) — British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak fired the chairman of his ruling Conservative Party Sunday over a “serious breach” of the ministerial code. Pressure had been building on Nadhim Zahawi amid allegations he settled a multimillion-dollar unpaid tax bill while he was in charge of the country’s Treasury. In a letter to Zahawi, […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Turkey issues travel warning to Europe following protests

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey issued a travel warning late Saturday for its citizens living in or planning on going to European countries, citing Islamophobia and anti-Turkish demonstrations. The warning comes after last weekend’s protests in Sweden where an anti-Islam activist burned the Quran and pro-Kurdish groups protested against Turkey. The Turkish foreign ministry urged its […]
1 day ago
Oleksandra Hryhoryna inspects her house which was damaged by shelling last fall in Kalynivske, Ukra...
Associated Press

Russians gone from Ukraine village, fear and hardship remain

KALYNIVSKE, Ukraine (AP) — When night falls in Tatiana Trofimenko’s village in southern Ukraine, she pours sunflower oil that aid groups gave her into a jar and seals it with a wick-fitted lid. A flick of a match, and the make-do candle is lit. “This is our electricity,” Trofimenko, 68, says. It has been over […]
1 day ago
Rescue workers collect bodies from the burnt wreckage of a bus accident in Bela, an area of Lasbela...
Associated Press

Passenger bus in Pakistan crashes, catches fire killing 40

QUETTA, Pakistan (AP) — A passenger bus crashed into a pillar and fell off a bridge, catching fire and killing 40 people in southern Pakistan on Sunday, a government official said. The bus was carrying 44 passengers from Quetta in Balochistan province to Karachi in neighboring Sindh province. The accident was near the town of […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Today in History: JAN 29, Prohibition launches

Today in History Today is Sunday, Jan. 29, the 29th day of 2023. There are 336 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Jan. 29, 1936, the first inductees of baseball’s Hall of Fame, including Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth, were named in Cooperstown, New York. On this date: In 1820, King […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Faculty calls on embattled Minnesota college head to resign