Graphic image shared online in response to Academic Program Review

AAUP Utica Poster, Stronger together, which replaced the graphic image on the Daily Nous website.

Leonore Fleming

AAUP Utica Poster, “Stronger together,” which replaced the graphic image on the Daily Nous website.

Hollie David, Managing Editor

A graphic image of Utica University President Laura Casamento was posted on, a website where information and blogs are published about and for the philosophy profession, on Jan. 20. However, no one from the Utica community is responsible for creating and sharing the image, according to the website editor.

This image was captioned, “Will Utica president Laura Casamento pull the trigger on her proposal to kill off several core majors, including philosophy?”

This incident came about two days after the announcement of which academic majors at Utica would be affected during the university’s academic portfolio review, and an investigation into the image was formally announced via an email shared with faculty and students.

Board of Trustees Chair Robert Brvenik ‘77 addressed the campus in the email to condemn the image originally attached to the article for promoting violence.

“These actions damage the reputations of Utica University, the Utica University community, and President Casamento directly, and they undermine the process we have established for inviting civil discourse,” Brvenik said.

According to the email, the image contradicts the principles the university was built upon.

“Let us be clear: we cannot stand for this,” Brvenik said. “We will not tolerate it. We are utilizing all available resources in investigating this matter, and are prepared to take swift action and hold individuals involved responsible.

Details of the investigation and potential fallout have not been released as of Jan. 25.

“The goal is to hold accountable those who created and circulated images that depict and potentially incite violence,” Brvenik said, in an email to The Tangerine. “Based upon the results of the investigation, consequences will be commensurate with the actions taken”

The image was first seen on, which is a website where information and blogs are published about and for the philosophy profession.

Utica philosophy professor Douglas Edwards wrote to the site with a statement regarding the portfolio review, along with information on the philosophy department’s petition, which was created to try and save the philosophy major at the university. 

Edwards was unaware of the image that the site used until after the publication was posted. 

This statement was published in a brief article written by editor, University of South Carolina philosophy professor, Justin Weinberg. 

In an email to The Tangerine, Weinberg explained the website’s right to post the image. 

“[The image’s] creation and publication is unambiguously protected by the First Amendment and the norms of academic freedom,” Weinberg said. “It represents the administration possibly eliminating critical thought at the university by cutting the major dedicated to it: Philosophy.”

He also explained that no one on the campus had anything to do with the creation of the image.

“No one associated with Utica University had any part in the creation of the image,” Weinberg said. “No one associated with Utica University had any knowledge of the image prior to its appearance in the post.”

The updated image on the article is credited to the AAUP-Utica and displays a poster created against the Academic Portfolio Review.

“Having heard that the Utica administration announced an ‘investigation’ of the image, I can see why they’re interested in eliminating critical thought there,” Weinberg said. “After all, just a little bit of it reveals that such an investigation–whether initiated out of ignorance of the law and academic freedom, or part of a cynical strategy to distract the Utica community from what’s really important, or both–would be at odds with the core values of a university.”

Updates will be provided as they become available.