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College letting ‘Sleep Walker’ stand

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The president of Wellesley College announced recently that the college will keep the controversial “Sleep Walker’’ statue where it stands until the end of the temporary display this spring. The realistic-looking depiction of a man sleepwalking in his underwear near the center of the campus created a stir early last month. Hundreds of students at the all-women’s college signed an online petition asking administrators to remove it, saying that the figure “has become a source of apprehension, fear,’’ and may trigger a traumatic reaction among victims of sexual assault. President H. Kim Bottomly said in an announcement to the school community last 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.” Bottomly wrote that she reached the decision after talking with students, faculty, and staff members. She also wrote that she welcomed the depth of conversation sparked by the statue, which is part of an exhibition, “New Gravity,’’ featuring works by sculptor Tony Matelli in the college’s Davis Museum.

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