The president of Bellevue College, Dr. Jerry Weber, was fired today. His departure was announced in a campus-wide email from the Board, which also announced the departure of Dr. Gayle Barge, the vice president of institutional advancement for the college.
This announcement came in the wake of the growing scandal surrounding the “Never Again is Now” mural on campus, which Dr. Barge directed others to deface. A sentence was removed from the mural concerning Miller Freeman, a wealthy former resident of Bellevue who contributed to anti-Japanese propaganda in World War II. The defacement has made national news and, according to the Board of Directors’ email, “damaged the credibility of the college, locally, regionally and nationally.”
Dr. Kristen Jones will serve as acting president while the Board searches for new leadership. During the press conference held following the announcement, she remarked, “I know that we are up to this challenge. We owe it to ourselves to create a culture we can be proud of. A culture of inclusion, compassion and accountability.” She continued, saying that “We promise that we will do a better job of listening, and more importantly acting on what we’ve heard, in order to honor the diversity of our community. Our actions will be far reaching, and they will start at the top.”
The mural artist will return to Bellevue College tomorrow to restore the original description of the art piece.