Of a controversial fresco at the University of Kentucky, Mr. Berry writes,
If the O’Hanlon fresco at the University of Kentucky depicts historical events that actually happened, then it can be understood to be teaching what is true. It is not possible to justify a student’s objection to learning what is true. If, on the contrary, the fresco falsifies history, that is a lesson of another kind that a student also should learn.
The only intellectually responsible question raised by the students’ objection to the fresco is that of its truth to history.
If the university still has a history department, then a further question is why President Capilouto would conduct a long discussion about the fresco without calling in at least a couple of history professors to deal with the relevant historical questions. Would not that have been educational?
The most important case that the objecting students have made, perhaps unintentionally, is for a course in Kentucky history to be mandatory for all students.
Read all of "Wendell Berry: At UK, truth, history, law — and what ‘cannot be forgiven’" at the Lexington Herald-Leader.