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Statue of man in underwear vandalized at Wellesley College

A photo of the statue taken in February.

Steven Senne/Associated Press/file

The “Sleepwalker” statue at Wellesley College.

The controversial “Sleepwalker” statue on the Wellesley College campus has been marred by yellow spray paint in an apparent act of vandalism, according to a college spokeswoman.

At least four spots on campus were tagged with the yellow paint last night, according to spokeswoman Sue McGovern. Campus police are investigating the incident, she said.

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“We don’t have any indication of what it means,” said McGovern. “We’re taking it very seriously.”

The realistic-looking statue of a man sleepwalking in his underwear upset many women on campus in February. Hundreds of students at the all-women’s college signed a petition asking administrators to remove it.

The statue is part of an art exhibit featuring sculptor Tony Matelli at the college’s Davis Museum. The exhibit, New Gravity, features sculptures that are often upended, shown in reverse, or in other odd positions.

Wellesley College President H. Kim Bottomly said in an internal communication to the school community that month that after weighing many perspectives, she decided that “we cannot destroy the artistic integrity of this exhibition by moving the sculpture, and also, we must do everything we can to support those students who find themselves deeply affected by it.”

Jacqueline Tempera can be reached at jacqueline.tempera@globe.com. Follow her on twitter @jacktemp
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