Sculpture of Capilano University president still not returned to art instructor

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      Capilano University art instructor George Rammell sounds upset.

      “It’s day 30 of the heist, and they still haven’t returned it,” Rammell told the Straight by phone last Friday (June 6).

      Rammell was referring to an effigy he created depicting university president Kris Bulcroft wrapped in an American flag and holding a poodle.

      The unflattering sculpture was seized by the university from the school grounds on account of it being tantamount to workplace harassment. Rammell discovered the piece missing in early May.

      CapU has offered to return the artwork on the condition that it’s not to be displayed again on campus.

      But since the effigy was dismantled after it was removed, Rammell said that he wants to restore the piece first on campus.

      “They didn’t want me to work on it on campus. I told them, no, that’s not fair. I have a right to work on it on campus,” he said.

      As to the condition that it’s not going to be exhibited again on university grounds, Rammell is willing to yield.

      “What I told them is that I would concede to not showing it on campus. That’s different,” he said. “I disagree with them, but in order to get it back if they’re going to censor me from showing it on campus, that’s their problem. I can live with that because I want to show it off campus.”

      According to Rammell, the sculpture called Blathering on in Krisendom is currently subject to a grievance process between the faculty association and the university.

      CapU did not provide a spokesperson available for interview.


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      Keep Shooting...

      Jun 9, 2014 at 11:18am

      ...yourselves in the foot, Cap U.

      It will feel so good when you stop.


      Jun 9, 2014 at 12:04pm

      C'mon administrators/Board Chair, it's not yours to keep. What you have done has stooped so low and the negative publicity is what you cannot afford any longer. Cap continues to flounder under the current leadership. Cap had a great reputation of being a community/learner-centred institution. Since it became a university and with the next-gen leadership of corporate-focused management, it has gone in a downward spiral. Change management is what is needed!

      simmer down

      Jun 9, 2014 at 2:25pm

      It's going to take some time to glue all the pieces back together.

      Just asking

      Jun 9, 2014 at 11:46pm

      Mr. Rammell, would you explain to your students and the world the meaning and value of your creation, and why you, as a university employee paid to teach, appear to be spending your time pursuing a personal agenda?
      We don't want to be left with the impression that your lesson to your students is that they can make their way in the world by openly insulting people to whom they owe their loyalty.

      @ Just asking

      Jun 10, 2014 at 7:38am

      Who should be owed loyalty when there is so much dysfunction and disrespect within? You should only be loyal when there is reciprocal relationship, one built on trust and respect! This is not idealistic, is it?

      Disgusted Academic

      Jun 10, 2014 at 9:54am

      The Georgia Straight should be ashamed of itself for continuing to advance the personal vendetta of a disgruntled employee at Capilano University by blindly printing his letters and reproducing the grotesque image he created - something (not certain you could call it art) that he says was funded by his union but apparently produced using the resources of his employer (or did he pay the university for the use of his studio for a work the he was being paid to produce?). This is not a story about academic freedom or free speech. Based on the stories that have appeared in the press, Mr. Rammell was apparently allowed to work on this sculpture throughout the year without any repercussions from his employer, was not impeded in his attempts to display it at galleries outside the university, and only had it confiscated when he displayed it on campus repeatedly without permission. Any attempt to cast this issue as one of academic freedom by Mr. Rammell or his colleagues (more like long term friends, I suspect) does a disservice to those of us in the academic world who truly do value the principle of academic freedom (not just give lip service to a hollow set of words) and strive to protect the integrity of the academy and its image in the community.


      Jun 10, 2014 at 9:57am

      What I don't get is isn't this instructor now out of a job due to his program being cut? Why would he even still be on campus or have access to the studio space and be able to use school supplies and equipment to work on the sculpture? I would have assumed they changed the locks to the studio space by now. This whole situation is an exercise in futility by both parties and while the instructor should have some freedom to express himself he seems to feel he has rights that are beyond reason while the university totally screwed up in how they've handled this all along.

      K. Bette Campbell

      Jun 11, 2014 at 1:43pm

      Couldn't George Rammell spend his time more productively? Is this really the example he wants to set for his students? And I agree with 'Disgusted Academic' that this does a disservice to those in the academic world who truly do value the principle of academic freedom. This is not a matter of academic freedom. It's a matter of insubordination.