A lifelike statue of a nearly nude man will remain on the campus of a women's college in the Boston area through the spring.
The statue, titled "Sleepwalker" by Tony Matelli, is part of an exhibit at the college's Davis Museum. According to the Boston Globe, it was placed in an area with a large amount of traffic and is hard to miss. It quickly created a stir on campus, and soon after there were calls from students for the statue to go, but the school says "Sleepwalker" is going to stay put for the semester.
Wellesley College President H. Kim Bottomly told the campus community Thursday "we cannot destroy the artistic integrity of this exhibition by moving the sculpture, and also, we must do everything we can to support those students who find themselves deeply affected by it."
welcome to wellesley, home of the women who will and this statue of a naked man.
please send your daughters here. pic.twitter.com/eRf1uJCxKA
— Ailis (@lishhh15) February 5, 2014
"We don't always have naked men at Wellesley, but when we do, they're creepy." pic.twitter.com/oot3yGbgJw
— Ali Rondeau (@ali_rondeau) February 5, 2014
— Polina Soshnin (@polinasoshnin) February 4, 2014
Nearly 1,000 people at the all female college have signed a petition on Change.org asking for the school to remove it.
Sarah Mahmood, a HuffPost campus editor-at-large, explained why she supports the statue's removal:
However, as a college community, Wellesley's first priority should be the safety and well-being of its students. Wellesley is our home, and students have a right to feel comfortable here. The statue presents an obvious trigger for many students, who are forced to see it outside their window before they're going to sleep, or as they're on their way to class.
Matelli responded to the controversy with his own criticism earlier this month, telling WBZ, "I think that these people are misconstruing this work. I think they’re seeing something in this work that isn’t there. But who am I to say how people should react to this?"
Clarification: A previous version of this article suggested that all of the petition's signatories are students. Language has been amended to reflect that the petition is open to anyone with objections to the statue.