Photo Credit: Matthew Rice

In a letter dated January 20, University of Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins announced that historic murals depicting Christopher Columbus would be hidden from view. Calling the 135-year-old artwork “perplexing,” Rev. Jenkins attacked their portrayal of Columbus as “beneficent explorer and friend of the native peoples” in his decision. Reportedly, a 2017 petition signed by 340 members of the Notre Dame community—students, faculty, and alumni—was also a contributing factor.

After publicly condemning the decision to hide history for the sake of appearing politically correct, the Notre Dame Young Americans for Freedom chapter (NDYAF) launched a petition of their own, calling for the mural of Columbus to remain in public view. Since Tuesday morning, more than 920 students, alumni, and faculty members have signed, urging Rev. Jenkins to do the right thing and maintain an atmosphere of critical thinking and higher learning, rather than cave to the demands of a clear minority of intolerant history-deniers. In addition, more than 595 parents and other concerned citizens have signed the ND YAF petition

“Despite Rev. Jenkins’ assertion that covering up history is what’s right for the school, this sentiment is clearly not representative of the Notre Dame community. In the days since Rev. Jenkins announced his decision, effectively reducing the ‘Fighting Irish’ to the ‘Cowering Irish,’ the reality of Notre Dame’s attitude toward the murals has become apparent,” stated YAF Spokesman Spencer Brown. “Students want to be treated like adults who are capable of evaluating history and thinking critically, not coddled by infantilizing administrators.”

The petition remains open for signatures here. Notre Dame still can—and should—do the right thing and uncover its Columbus murals.