A planned exhibition of cartoons promoting gender equality at the National University of Ireland in Galway was shut down by order of university officials. Security staff stripped the pictures from the walls of NUIG’s Arts Millennium Building in the early morning hours of Friday, April 8th. The administration’s decision was made the same day Irish President Michael D. Higgins, spoke at the campus and declared that a university’s goal should be to develop “independent thinkers and questioning, engaged citizens.”
The following Monday, however, Dr. Micheline Sheehy Skeffington announced in front of the bare exhibition-space walls that the exhibition was going ahead. The pictures were rehung that night and will be on display for a week. The university explained its about-face in a statement that said “custom and practices have now been complied with and permission has been granted for the exhibition”.
The cartoons on display are by “the Secret Cartoonist,” and skewer the institutional sexism of an unnamed university that somewhat resembles NUIG. In 2014 , an Equality Tribunal Ruling found NUIG guilty of discriminating against Dr. Sheehy Skeffington. She was awarded $79,000US, and is using that money to fund five other female lecturers at NGUI who have accused the university of discrimination based on sex.