SU faculty calls for provocative billboard to come down

Faculty at SU's Visual and Performing Arts College are asking that this billboard be taken down, because its message could be misinterpreted

On Monday, a student group at Syracuse University offered a rebuttal to some SU faculty calls to take down a controversial billboard in downtown Syracuse. Derek Ford, speaking for the SU chapter of Youth and Student Answer (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) says "some Syracuse University faculty are working to silence dialogue about white privilege and systematic racism."

Faculty members, in a statement on Sunday, said there are concerns about how the message will be interpreted.

The billboard, at Adams and Montgomery Streets downtown, shows a dark-skinned mannequin in a revealing two piece outfit. It has the caption 'Sorry kids, it's still white privilege.' In small print at the bottom, it says 'this project designed by Transmedia students at Syracuse University.'

A website link to the

Department of Transmedia

, which is in SU's College of Visual and Performing Arts, describes the program as an 'academic center for the education of media arts professionals,' which offers, among other things, 'contemporary issue courses.'

We asked the college for a comment on the billboard, and this morning received this statement, from Heath Hanlin, associate professor and chair of the Department of Transmedia:

â??This project was created by a class in the transmedia department of the College of Visual and Performing Arts. The goal of this project is to challenge stereotypes and investigate racial barriers, hopefully opening a constructive dialogue about these critical issues. In analyzing the content and context of the billboard, the faculty has determined that the message and meaning of the billboard itself could be misinterpreted or misconstrued. They have asked the vendor to discontinue it.â??

Click here to read the statement from SU chapter of Youth and Student ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism).