Madison Miller/staff photo                                Bellevue College president Jerry Weber and vice president Gayle Colston Barge resigned March 4. From left, Bellevue College board vice chair Greg Dietzel, chair Richard Fukutaki and BC acting president Kristen Jones.

Madison Miller/staff photo Bellevue College president Jerry Weber and vice president Gayle Colston Barge resigned March 4. From left, Bellevue College board vice chair Greg Dietzel, chair Richard Fukutaki and BC acting president Kristen Jones.

Bellevue College president and vice president resign

Resignations follow outcry after mural is censored.

Bellevue College (BC) president Jerry Weber and vice president Gayle Colston Barge have officially resigned. The resignations came two days after the college announced they would be leaving as a consequence of Barge’s defacement of the campus mural of two Japanese American children in a World War II incarceration camp.

The art installation, “Never Again Is Now,” was created by Seattle artist Erin Shigaki. It includes an 11-foot-tall mural of two children photographed at a California incarceration camp. The project was brought to Bellevue College in mid-February as the school recognized the Day of Remembrance, which commemorates the day President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, authorizing the imprisonment of Japanese Americans.

Shortly after the mural was installed, it was reported that a sentence of the mural’s description was whited out by one of BC’s vice presidents, Gayle Colston Barge.

“After decades of anti-Japanese agitation, led by Eastside businessman Miller Freeman and others, the mass incarceration of Japanese Americans included the 60 families (300 individuals) who farmed Bellevue,” was the sentence that was defaced.

Barge was put on administrative leave following the incident. It has not been made clear as to what the intention was behind the act.

At the March 4 BC Board of Trustees meeting, the board unanimously accepted both resignations.

Board president Richard Fukutaki read Weber’s written resignation. In Weber’s statement, he said his actions were “regrettable.” Though he did not commit the action himself, it happened on his watch. “It is in the college’s best interest for me to resign.”

Barge apologized for her actions in a statement. In her written resignation, she apologized for the hardship she caused by her actions and said it was in the college’s best interest for her to step down.

Provost Kristen Jones will serve as acting president.

The day before, March 3, hundreds of BC students and community members attended a commemoration ceremony and gathering of solidarity for BC Asian Pacific Islander students. Mural artist, Shigaki, and the Seattle chapter Japanese-American Citizens League (JACL) were in attendance.

“I am really appreciative for the event,” Jones said at the board of trustees’ meeting.

She said it was a healing moment for the campus and community.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bellevuereporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bellevuereporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

Seattle Children’s Hospital (Courtesy photo)
Seattle Children’s Hospital identifies racial disparities in infections, security response

The healthcare provider did not respond to multiple requests for data used to identify disparities.

Carpenters union members peacefully strike on Sept. 16 in downtown Bellevue (photo by Cameron Sheppard)
Carpenters union strike on pause after “illegal picketing activity”

Union spokesperson claims wildcat protestors harrassed and threatened violence.

t
Peter Rogoff to step down as Sound Transit CEO in 2022

Became CEO in 2016; search for replacement to begin

File photo/Sound Publishing
Ban on single-use plastic bags in WA begins Oct. 1

Shoppers will have the choice to pay for a reusable plastic or recycled paper bag.

Photos from Emma Artz Instagram page at https://www.instagram.com/emma__artz/?hl=en
Juanita HS student is one of the best downhill mountain bike racers in the world

Emma Artz represented the US in one of the most difficult bike races, placing in top-15.

file photo
Housing and finance insiders call for subsidized housing families can own, instead of rent

Advocates say increasing homeownership will strengthen the community, build intergenerational wealth

Screenshot taken from Rosa Parks Elementary School website.
Eastside school wins National Blue Ribbon honor

Rosa Parks Elementary School in Redmond is the only Washington school to win.

Screenshot taken of a King County video showing Wilburton Trestle
King County’s Eastside to receive major multi-modal transportation investment

Private and public investors will help build a regional biking and walking trail to mitigate traffic

Most Read