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MFA hires former attorney general to look at handling of that Dorchester school visit

The MFA reports its hired former state Attorney General Scott Harshbarger to review both what happened to seventh graders from the Davis Leadership Academy on May field trip and how it investigated and responded to the incident.

The museum found two members treated the minority students like dirt and barred them from returning - and that while no museum workers were intentionally racist, it understood why students might have thought they were.

Harshbarger gets to work immediately, the MFA reports:

The Museum had announced the findings of its own investigation on May 24, 2019. In the ensuing weeks, we continued discussion with our Boards of Trustees and Advisors, community leaders, and other engaged constituencies. We came to the decision that an investigation by an external party could provide greater objectivity and clarity. We look forward to their report and sharing what we learn with the MFA community and public.

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Hiring one of MA's most corrupt, political, and power hungry AG's ever doesn't look good on the MFA's part. They want a legal hitman to bury this incident in a shallow unmarked grave and Luther is a mean enough bastard to do it.

They've really handled this about as well as they possibly could. The leadership is clearly taking this seriously and it says a lot that after doing their own investigation they've decided they should bring in someone from outside as well.

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They discovered none of their employees acted inappropriately. They banned a patron who may have said something inappropriate.

What else should the MFA do?

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Hair shirt? Self-flagellation? Mortification of the flesh?

At this point it's just getting silly.

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Why fear an outside review?

Either no changes are recommended or the consultant suggests some improvements.

There's no downside to outside review.

1. Cost - Harshbarger is in private practice. These investigations are cash cows for law firms - because it's an independent investigation the client can't object if you interview everyone twice, have 10 associates review every internal email for the past 5 years, etc.

2. Distraction - Lengthy interviews of people who have work to do, who have already been interviewed, and have already been cleared.

3. Witch hunt - Investigators have to justify their existence, so they find something, anything amiss. Even if it's blown out of proportion.

Think of this as an IRS audit, except the person getting audited has to pay for it out of pocket.

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Maybe what you would consider "blown out of proportion" is actually a serious problem the staff don't recognize or acknowledge.

No one is so good they can't improve. Racism, real or imagined, is a serious problem. The MFA is smart to be proactive.

The MFA didn't do anything wrong. They're embarrassing themselves just trying to satisfy the "woke" crowd.

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but the “woke” crowd consists of most of the people who make enough money to afford museum memberships, in these parts. Folks with the means to spend their days admiring artwork, as opposed to, say, anonymously trolling a news site

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As an elderly white male, L. Scott Harshbarger is the wrong choice, especially if it's found that the whole foundation of the complaint, "watermelon," was never said and the museum staff did nothing wrong. His verdict won't be accepted by all.

The investigation would have been better handled by Eddie Jenkins, Ralph Martin, Natashia Tidwell or any of the many highly respected Boston African-American attorneys with a prosecutorial background. The Smollet investigation gained tremendous credibility because the person most offended by the hoax, Police Chief Eddie Johnson, is black. If the goal is truth, it would be best handled by someone who has experienced racism first hand.

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"...elderly white male...wrong choice..."

Ok, ok, very valid point being made by [skims back up...] O-FISH-L!? Wow, very good stuff!

"...Smollet..."

Ah! There it is...sigh.

The watermelon comment was not the foundation of the complaint.

And the MFA already determined that it was not said.

It was already reported globally that the watermelon comment was made, and it will be referred to in the future as an example of Boston being racist.

https://boston.cbslocal.com/2012/05/25/arlington-high-kicked-out-of-mfa-...
May 25, 2015

ARLINGTON (CBS) – School buses roll into the Museum of Fine Arts so students can learn about art and culture. But Thursday, an Arlington High field trip went awry thanks to a couple of students.

The group of sophomores was touring the Art of Americas wing when a student breached security, ducked under the rope and jumped on a bed that dates back to the 1800’s.

Jillian Winstanley was on the field trip and says she’s disappointed a few kids ruined such a great opportunity.

“It was a great experience, I had never been to the MFA, my friends hadn’t either. It could’ve been a great time but I’m disappointed a few kids ruined the entire thing,” says Jillian. “You just have to think twice and use your common sense.”

Luckily nothing was broken, but the Arlington students caused enough of a problem that they had to be escorted out. The superintendent says it’s all under investigation.

Word of kids not respecting art is especially troubling to Elizabeth Minzes and Nicole Drehar. Elizabeth works at a museum and says, “I’m someone who loves history preservation so it’s important to me, so hearing something like that, history being destroyed cause someone wants to jump on a bed.”

Drehar adds, “They’re at that age but you have to be respectful of the art. Maybe they’ll be next time if they’re allowed here again.”

It’s a lesson in respect and consequences, three students face suspension.

The Arlington superintendent of schools tells WBZ that museum officials complimented the majority of the students who apologized to the museum for their classmates’ regrettable behavior. She says Arlington high is invited back to the museum.

That seems to be an issue.

Coming from Arlington what was the color and class distribution?

Or were they just kids and being kids needed greater observation than is normally applied? I suspect the latter which applies to the current situation.

I'd just like to add that I'm happy the Security Officers and staff members were exonerated. The other post was shut down before I could say that. Just because no special skills are required to do Security at the museum they still acted professionally.

I thought we already found out who/what caused the ruckus?

Where did the dogmatic liberals come from? In the past I saw people who considered themselves to be liberals to be thoughtful, to step back to consider a situation, to strive to be fair and wanting to know as many facts as can be known. They were not prejudiced as the bigots I grew up around.

Now with the cultural appropriationists (try to say that 10 times), the humorless political and social descendants (and hypocrites) of Orwell's Animal Farm, it is as though the worst narrow mindedness of reactionary conservatives has infected liberals.

Everyone looses when everyone sees the world in the view of my way or the highway .