The following is an email we cadets at Cal Maritime received today. Virtually all the students are against the implemented plan to remove the wall paintings that encompass 30 years of our tradition due to a few SJW people.
There is a petition going around to stop it, although how much it will mean I’m not too optimistic: https://www.change.org/p/california-maritime-academy-stop-the-removal-if-murals-from-the-tsgb.
Word is, they will be hiring contractors to remove ALL the murals over spring break when everyone will be out and no one can protest. This is causing widespread anger among the student body.
I know it may be unlikely, but is there anyone here that can help stop this? If alumni called and threatened to stop donating to the foundation or something, perhaps we can pressure them not to cave into this suffocating political correctness.
Message from the President
February 21, 2019
Dear Cal Maritime Community,
Our academy has a rich history, and the experiences of our cadets are uniquely and intentionally different. One of the features of our curriculum is the learning that occurs aboard Training Ship GOLDEN BEAR (TSGB) each summer, as many of our faculty, staff and cadets ply the world’s oceans. This at-sea experience provides a window on the world — one that is exotic, new and exciting. This formative experience offers each cadet a snapshot of the adventure that lies ahead in a career as a Merchant Marine officer. The first time one goes to sea — I well remember the feelings of awe and wonder I felt that day — is special. It has inspired books, paintings and music for centuries. On TSGB, it resulted in artful expressions of these personal voyages of discovery by our cadets. I am sure that our alumni look back with fondness on their time aboard the ship, and in some cases, their own expressions of their pride in being part of a very special profession.
Over the last several years, there have been a number of faculty, staff, cadets and campus visitors who have offered comment to me regarding murals painted onboard TSGB. Some folks were proud, some were amused, some were concerned, some were troubled by certain drawings. Having viewed them myself, and trying to better understand all points of view, I can see how different people could view each of these murals with the diversity of opinion that has emerged.
The murals have also been a point of discussion – and contention – for a while with different members and groups within our broader campus community. They have been addressed to me by members of the Board of Trustees, Day on the Bay visitors, and faculty, staff and cadets. Recently, members of our faculty, staff and Corps of Cadets conveyed to our campus leadership that they found some of the content offensive and inappropriate. Serious concerns by all of these groups related to objectification, in particular, images that are vulgar, offensive and/or objectify women.
Additionally, over the last decade or more, several of the murals have been painted over or covered by cabinets or other ship modifications over the years with no attempts to save or archive the painting.
So, we have a situation where we want to encourage continued expression of the cadet experience at sea, create an environment of genuine teamwork that does not insult, belittle or objectify women, and still preserve the works of folk-art by our alumni.
With all of these factors in mind, I have determined that we need to take the following steps to meet the needs of everyone within our campus community:
First, we are going to immediately begin to carefully archive the current murals — all of them — rather than continue losing the murals permanently over time as more ship changes occur. I have directed the campus photographer to archive quality photograph the murals so that the art can be saved digitally, reproduced, displayed and shared with alumni and others.
Second, with the current murals archived, we’re going to create a fresh start — literally, a clean slate. The Commanding Officer of TSGB will develop a policy that allows us to keep the mural tradition alive. This will include direction on who can paint a mural and, with limited space, determine how long murals will remain before they are archived and then systematically painted over to make room for new ones.
Third, I am going to insist, and ensure, that whatever expressions of art that are sanctioned by the academy , such as these murals, reflect the level of professionalism that is expected by our profession. In doing so, I will also encourage our cadets to find ways to meaningfully integrate the timeless ethos of professional mariners into their expressions of art with our campus values: Dedication, Honor, Integrity, Respect, Responsibility, and Trust. Cal Maritime is a special place and we are committed to being a welcoming, inclusive campus, where every cadet who commits to our profession enjoys a sense of belonging.
As always, I look forward to your advice for the best ways to communicate this very recent decision to our extended campus community of alumni, parents, neighbors, faculty, staff, cadets, and industry partners.
In service, TC
Thomas A. Cropper
California State University Maritime Academy