American University to Remove Leonard Peltier Stat...

American University to Remove Leonard Peltier Statue

The campaign to pardon Leonard Peltier has extended to American University, though this might be the end of it. A statue of Peltier–a Native American activist whose 1977 conviction in the deaths of two FBI agents has been questioned–had been placed on campus to further the case for his clemency in the final days of the Obama administration. But after urging from the FBI Agents Association, the university has decided to remove it, explaining that they take no position on Peltier’s innocence or guilt. They’re currently looking for an alternate location for the statue.

This is probably the safest approach for the school, and finding another place for the statue is a decent move, though arguable whether it’s enough. It is interesting, though, how the debate is being framed. The FBI Agents Association’s letter said that the Peltier statue was a slap in the face of law enforcement, but Peltier’s defenders are not celebrating the killing but disputing his guilt. As critiques of police brutality get painted as wholesale attacks on police, such framing is worth paying attention to.

What are your thoughts? What would you have done?


About Stewart Finnegan

In a perfect world, I'd be a professor who teaches poetry using episodes of mediocre sci-fi procedurals, but for now, I'm just a tutor who watches a lot of TV. I got my BA from Kalamazoo College in English with a focus on creative writing, and someday soon I'd like to go back to academia. Most of my formal teaching training was as a creative writing TA, but I've used those skills professionally more to tutor math and write data entry training materials. And though I'd like to focus my work on what I'm really passionate about (which is Netflix binges and outdated video games, mostly), it's the craft of teaching and writing that keeps me coming back. That's why I'm excited to be a part of High Faluter: I'm finding that academia doesn't just stay in academia. And if I can bring crappy midbrow entertainment into academia too, well, all the better. You can find me on Twitter: @StewartFinnegan