For those of you who have followed The Stony Brook Press for any length of time, you know that our relationship with University President Shirley Strum Kenny has always centered on our role as the main student critics of her policies. We’ve never been what you’d call ‘chummy’ with her. This is Kenny’s final year as our University President. As such, we have decided to begin a countdown that will chronicle the most questionable, unfortunate and downright bizarre moments of her tenure.

President Kenny has served for fourteen years. There are fourteen issues of The Press due out before she leaves office. It seems only natural, then, to have fourteen moments on our countdown. We hope you will follow, and above all enjoy, this feature with each passing issue. Now, without further ado, we present number fourteen…

The Shirley Strum Kenny Art Festival Fiasco

For this moment, we reach back to just a few months ago. At the end of the spring 2008 semester, the school held its annual Shirley Strum Arts Festival with the headline “A Celebration of Student Expression.” One of the more prominent art pieces on display featured a wire mesh polar bear sculpture suspended over one of the Wang Center fountains. Now, what follows is still a little unclear, but what the sources told us was that Shirley, upon seeing this polar bear, demanded that it be removed from the exhibit. First, the reasoning behind this was that Shirley simply didn’t like it.  After realizing how that justification was total bullshit, a nonsense fire code violation was cooked up. Then, after feeling some heat from the student media (whoo yeah, go student media!) and the other artists in the show, Shirley decreed that the bear could remain on display for an additional few days. In the end, this whole debacle was just a big embarrassment for Shirley and the other powers that be. In addition, her major indecisiveness on the whole justification gave off the image of an old, senile leader at the university’s helm. However, we can’t wait for the next Shirley Strum Arts Festival which “Celebrates Student Expression!…so long as said expression doesn’t confuse or anger President Kenny.”

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