Erasing Keillor

Garrison Keillor has been erased from the University of Minnesota’s “Scholar’s Walk,” a tribute to famous alumni.

The Minnesota Daily says the plaque was removed after Keillor, a 1966 grad, was accused of sexual misconduct late last year.

The Daily’s article suggests no one wants to talk about the decision.

When asked for more information on the decision, a University spokesperson deferred comment to a company based in McNamara Alumni Center that manages Scholars Walk. When reached for comment, the company deferred comment to a University spokesperson.

A company spokesman told the Star Tribune, however, the plaque came down in mid-January.

“I was never a scholar. The plaque was an embarrassment,” Keillor told the Star Tribune in an email. “I’m a writer. We don’t need plaques, we have books.”

Keillor’s work on the MPR website disappeared after the allegations. American Public Media said Keillor owned the rights to the work.

[Update 3:40 p.m.]
University statement:

The Scholars Walk and the Wall of Discovery were developed as a tribute to notable scientific, scholarly and creative discoveries by notable members of the University community. The panels were designed to be rotated on a regular basis in order to keep the gallery dynamic and highlight a larger group of individuals over time.

The Scholars Walk and the Wall of Discovery are reviewed regularly. On Friday, January 19, 2018, five panels were updated to feature a fresh set of distinguished members of the University community.

The panels featuring Walter Brattain, William D. Kelly, Garrison Keillor, Ernest O. Lawrence and Norman Shumway were replaced and reconfigured to include representations of 13 members of the University community, from Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey to Minnesota Lynx player Lindsay Whalen.

The University works with the Gateway Corporation to determine Scholars Walk panel content and timing on panel rotations, taking a variety of factors into consideration, including whether the person meets the standards the University holds for members of its community.

  • kevins

    Seems like an over-reaction to me, but there must be a committee that levied this punishment (perhaps a quiet and somewhat isolated, yet diverse group), so it has to be OK yes?

    • My guess is this sort of thing is more marketing than anything else. Maybe they didn’t think an accused sexual harasser was good marketing.

      • Jim in RF

        Yep. Putting up the Walk was marketing, choosing who went into it is marketing, dropping someone is marketing. Wouldn’t surprise me if people are asked to pay for their own plaques (as Bob Uecker claims he had to) It’s not like it was a scenic vista; mostly people using it to find out there’s no south door to the fieldhouse.

        • >>Wouldn’t surprise me if people are asked to pay for their own plaques<<

          Like the Hollywood Walk of Fame…

      • rallysocks

        As they say in non-profit circles: You’re only as reputable as the company you keep…or accept dollars from.’

      • MrE85

        Not unlike the sidewalk stars in Hollywood.

      • Guest

        I think you are exactly right. The marketing is soiled at the accusation.

        Sadly society can not wait for the truth nor can it retro-actively restore a soiled reputation.

        • X.A. Smith

          He’s an intelligent, rich old white man, he’s gonna be fine.

  • Gary F

    Lets keep tearing down statues and taking down plaques. Lets protect our future generations by erasing history.

    • MrE85

      It is because we better understand history is why statues come down, plaques are removed, and lakes are renamed.

    • Until today, you didn’t even know there WAS a Scholar’s Walk. So I think history is OK.

    • Jerry

      Taking down a statue of a bad person doesn’t erase their history. It just stops honoring it.

  • MrE85

    Yet another liberal university suppressing a conservative opinion. Oh, wait…

  • Guest

    As I have said before. It is to women’s advantage for us to be able to know truth from accusation. Due process in a trial is not perfect, but name another place you’d like to be accused than the US Judicial system.

    A nameless accusation without even giving the accused the right to speak is just the start, not the end of bringing down a reputation.

    This all flows from how colleges expel a student after a sexual encounter / attack.

    Sadly society will slowly learn it needs more than an accusation. Once again the wrong will ruin things for the right regarding accusations. See Duke and Gophers.

    • Jerry

      A plaque is not a conviction.

  • AL287

    “Dirty Laundry”

    —-Don Henley

    I make my living off the evening news

    Just give me something-something I can use

    People love it when you lose,

    They love dirty laundry

    Well, I coulda been an actor, but I wound up here

    I just have to look good, I don’t have to be clear

    Come and whisper in my ear

    Give us dirty laundry

    Kick em when they’re up

    Kick em when they’re down

    Kick em when they’re up

    Kick em when they’re down

    Kick em when they’re up

    Kick em when they’re down

    Kick em when they’re up

    Kick em all around

    We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blonde who

    Comes on at five

    She can tell you bout the plane crash with a gleam

    In her eye

    Its interesting when people die-

    Give us dirty laundry

    Can we film the operation?

    Is the head dead yet?

    You know, the boys in the newsroom got a

    Running bet

    Get the widow on the set!

    We need dirty laundry

    You don’t really need to find out whats going on

    You don’t really want to know just how far its gone

    Just leave well enough alone

    Eat your dirty laundry

    Kick em when they’re up

    Kick em when they’re down

    Kick em when they’re up

    Kick em when they’re down

    Kick em when they’re up

    Kick em when they’re down

    Kick em when they’re stiff

    Kick em all around

    Dirty little secrets

    Dirty little lies

    We got our dirty little fingers in everybodys pie

    We love to cut you down to size

    We love dirty laundry

    We can do the innuendo

    We can dance and sing

    When its said and done we have’nt told you a thing

    We all know that crap is king

    Give us dirty laundry!

    • John O.

      Key line: “We all know that crap is king”

  • Guest

    How fair the process MPR used is at the heart of the dispute.

    • What’s the process you would have used?

      • Jerry

        Obviously you need a full criminal trial to cut business ties with someone.

      • Guest

        I would start by getting Garrison’s side of the story and looking for evidence beyond he said / she said. Ask who she told at the time it happened and interview them.

        • Garrison told his side of the story. He said he brushed up against a woman and accidentally ran his hand up her back. After McTaggart’s detailed letter a week or so ago, he was no longer telling THAT story.

          But in the investigation, MPR met with his lawyer, apparently. And it talked to women.

          So the process that was used was the one you recommended, you just don’t know about it because , really, it’s not of your — nor my — business.

          Keillor, for the record, has been invited by every media in town to tell his side of the story. He has chosen not to be questioned.

  • LieutenantLefse

    I’m still annoyed that they took down the marker from 2054 honoring a time-travelling physicist.

    https://ry4an.org/unblog/post/scholars-walk/

  • John F.

    Another chapter of this perpetual conflict. Meanwhile, MPR members/listeners and the public continue to be sharply divided over it. Its really sad and honestly, I really wish it would come to a resolution.

  • crystals

    I think it’s pretty clear we need to add due process to the list of terms Americans like to throw around but really do not understand. It can be BFFs with the 1st Amendment.

  • Diversity = mandolin?

    • ec99

      Not for Vivaldi concertos.

  • Katy

    “It’s odd to be punished by having something taken away that you never wanted in the first place, like when my mother sent me to my room for being sassy.” He says.

    It’s pretty striking to me that Mr. Keillor assumes that this is about punishing him. The University is in the midst of a crisis where they are trying desperately to make their actions and their stated values match in public perception, not just on this front. It’s not about you, sir. The idea that this is an attempt at punishing Keillor is arrogant and self centered. And frankly not-unexpected.

  • Clarke Caywood

    Maybe my Wisconsin tradition refuses to understand Minnesota or I missed the point but it seems that the University tossed out world class scientists with Keillor. The story clearly implies that the others were culpable of some crime or low standard though many were world class scientists. How will students learn if Minnesota members of the world science community are tossed in the bin with a comic? I have no knowledge of the Lynx players but doesn’t Minnesota have enough wall space to celebrate their science alumni to inspire STEM students?

    • rallysocks

      It’s a rotating installation. Plaques come and go and sometimes come back again. Here’s a helpful bit from the story:

      “The panels were designed to be rotated on a regular basis in order to keep the gallery dynamic and highlight a larger group of individuals over time.”