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Students at the University of Pennsylvania have removed a portrait of William Shakespeare and replaced it with a picture of a black, lesbian poet for the sake of having greater diversity.
The large Shakespeare portrait had resided near a staircase in Fisher-Bennett Hall for years, until a gaggle of activist students removed it and placed it in the office of English department head Jed Esty. In its place, they taped up a photograph of Audre Lorde.
The portrait won’t be moved back, according to a statement from Esty, because as a white male, Shakespeare didn’t embody the value of diversity.
“Students removed the Shakespeare portrait and delivered it to my office as a way of affirming their commitment to a more inclusive mission for the English department,” Esty told The Daily Pennsylvanian.
The English department had actually voted on its own to remove Shakespeare’s portrait years ago, but despite the vote, no action was taken. Now, Esty says the Lorde photo won’t be removed until the department can decide what should be done long term.
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