University dumps art history professor after voluntary lesson about Muslim depictions of Muhammad

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A private university in Minnesota known for its social justice roots is facing an outcry from academic and artistic freedom activists after it declined to renew the contract of a professor who showed an art history class centuries-old depictions of Muhammad to illustrate that Muslims have historically varying views on the prophet’s depiction.

Hamline University, whose home page links to a land acknowledgment to the Dakota and Ojibwe tribes, did not renew the unnamed adjunct’s contract after its top diversity official called the art lesson “undeniably … Islamophobic” despite letting students in the virtual class opt out of viewing the depictions.

Associate Vice President of Inclusive Excellence David Everett and President Fayneese Miller also confirmed they viewed the incident as a matter of academic freedom in a campus message, saying the professor nonetheless should have given precedence to “respect for the observant Muslim students in that classroom.”

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