Wellesley Kids: Get Rid of Creepy Half-Naked Statue
They think 'Sleepwalker' can trigger thoughts of sexual assault
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2014 11:59 AM CST

(Newser) – Administrators at Wellesley College apparently thought it would be a good idea to install a sculpture of an extremely realistic guy in his underwear, sleepwalking in a zombie-like pose near the center of campus. But the work of art isn't exactly being applauded by students at the all-female Massachusetts college, the Boston Globe reports. So far, more than 550 have signed a Change.org petition asking for Tony Matelli's Sleepwalker, which was just installed Monday, to be removed. The sculpture has "become a source of apprehension, fear, and triggering thoughts regarding sexual assault for many members of our campus community," the petition reads.

The director of the college's Davis Museum responded, noting that "art has an extraordinary power to evoke personal response, and to elicit the unexpected" and that the sculpture "provokes dialogue." The student who started the petition responds that she's "really disappointed" that the director didn't address the fact that the sculpture is "making students on campus feel unsafe." On Slate, Amanda Marcotte rolls her eyes at the uproar, noting that "no self-identified rape survivors piped in to say that the statue reminded them of their own experiences, but that didn't hold back the tide of speculation that it might traumatize them." For his part, Matelli tells the Globe, "Everyone brings to a work of art their own interpretation, their own history, and their own baggage."