- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A sophomore at Pitzer College said a mural protesting gun violence on the Southern California campus is “emotionally triggering” for black people.

Gregory Ochiagha said Monday in an email to the school’s student body that he should not have to walk past the painting, which depicts a gun shooting flowers, every time he leaves his dorm room.

“It is truly in bad taste to have a large depiction of a gun in a dorm space — especially when students of color also reside there,” Mr. Ochiagha said in the email, the Claremont Independent reported.

“My Black Mental and Emotional Health Matters,” he wrote. “I shouldn’t be reminded every time I leave my dorm room of how easy my life can be taken away, or how many Black lives have been taken away because of police brutality. This is emotionally triggering for very obvious reasons.”

The mural, which was approved by the Pitzer College aesthetics committee, was painted by freshman student Selena Spier, who said the image is associated with Vietnam War protests.

“This mural is actually representative of a nonviolence movement to protest the Vietnam War in the ‘60s,” Ms. Spier responded. “There’s a famous photo of a protester putting flowers in the barrel of a National Guardsman’s rifle and everything.”

Ms. Spier later said she would modify the painting so as to avoid “any potentially triggering content.”

“I have absolutely no right to decide whether or not my artwork is offensive to marginalized communities — nor does anyone else in a position of privilege, racial or otherwise,” she told the Independent.

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