Brandeis University’s art museum, The Rose, is making headlines again. In January, the university’s president, Jehuda Reinharz, announced that the museum would close its doors to the public, and additionally, Brandeis would sell the museum’s entire 7500 piece collection in order to raise funds for the school.
A group of professors immediately called for Reinharz’s resignation, and many in the art community questioned the legality of the university’s actions. In February, Reinharz recanted some of his earlier statements: he told The Boston Globe that the Rose would not be closing, but instead would transition from a public art museum to an educational arts center. Additionally, he clarified that
the university intended to sell just a small portion of the collection ‘if and when it is necessary.’
Still, such clarifications did little to assuage the fears of the international art community. In July, citing museum ethical codes, which require proceeds from any sale of artwork be used only to purchase new acquisitions, three members of The Rose Art Museum’s board of overseers filed a lawsuit in order to stop the sale of any work.
Then, last week, a Brandeis University committee recommended that the museum remain open to the public, although it failed to take a position on the arguably more important issue of the sale of its collection, valued at $350 million.
Days later, Reinharz announced his resignation to The Justice, Brandeis’ student newspaper. However, he claims that he is ending his long tenure as university president because he’s met his goals, and the resignation was not influenced by the outcry he created by announcing the Rose’s closure.