Harvard Medical School is removing several portraits of former white male department chairs to promote diversity, yet the majority of current chairs are Caucasian men.
The Brigham and Women’s teaching hospital is dispersing 31 portraits of men (30 are white, and one is Chinese) from the Bornstein Amphitheater to various lobbies “to make sure that our culture creates a sense of belonging for all,” hospital president Betsy Nabel told the Boston Globe.
“I have watched the faces of individuals as they have come into Bornstein,” Nabel said. “I have watched them look at the walls. I read on their faces, ‘Interesting, but I am not represented here.’ That got me thinking, maybe it’s time that we think about respecting our past in a different way.”
But the Globe last Thursday noted that out of Brigham’s current 15 department chairs, 13 are men, while only one is Hispanic, and one is Asian; the rest are white.
Medical school spokeswoman Gina Vild says “change is coming.”
“It is vitally important to know that the lack of diversity seen in art at HMS reflects the school’s past, not its present,” Vild said.
Plans to remove the luminary portraits have been in the works for several years, according to Nabel. (RELATED: Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz: Comparing Immigrant Detention Centers To Nazi Death Camps Is A ‘Form Of Holocaust Denial’)
Brigham spokesperson Lori Schroth told The Daily Caller that “neither the hospital nor Dr. Nabel is participating in any further media opportunities related to this story.”
Kings College London previously had similar intentions “to swap portraits of some of its founding fathers with a ‘wall of diversity,'” The Telegraph reports.
University of Pennsylvania students swapped a Shakespeare portrait with a photo of Audre Lorde, a black lesbian writer.