Mount Holyoke President Lynn Pasquerella's March 29 letter to Maine Governor Paul LePage, criticizing his controversial decision to remove a mural depicting Frances Perkins and the history of the labor movement from that state's Department of Labor, has garnered national attention and wide support. LePage ordered the removal of the 11-panel mural after stating it was too pro-labor and made local business leaders uncomfortable when they visited the state building.
Reports on Pasquerella's action have been run in national, regional, and local media outlets—including the Associated Press, Reuters, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, Forbes, the Boston Globe, Bloomberg, the Baltimore Sun, the Huffington Post, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and Inside Higher Ed. The story was reported widely in Maine, as well as locally in the Daily Hampshire Gazette, the Republican, and elsewhere.
Pasquerella also penned a letter to the editor of the New York Times before LePage quietly removed the mural panels last weekend; it ran in the March 30 issue of the Times.
Perkins, class of 1902, became the first woman to serve in the Cabinet when President Franklin Roosevelt named her Secretary of Labor. She is one of Mount Holyoke's most esteemed graduates, and many students, alumnae, and their families have weighed in on the controversy. Pasquerella said she received several hundred favorable email messages from members of the extended Mount Holyoke community and beyond, while dozens more have expressed support for her action on Facebook and Twitter.