Erika Lopez Prater, Hamline University

December 2022
Hamline University (Private college or university)
St Paul, MN

Identity of Speakers

  • Erika Lopez Prater

    Art history professor

Additional Information

  • Incident Nature:
    Faculty publication
  • Incident Political Orientation:
    Not Clear
  • Incident Responses:
    Faculty sanctioned
    Faculty responses (e.g., asking student to leave classroom)
  • Incident Status:
    No litigation
  • Was Speech Code incident


Erika Lopez Prater, an Art History professor at Hamline University in Minnesota, displayed artwork showing the Islamic prophet Muhammad. Provoked by her display, Prater received the news her professorship was nonrenewed.  The University stated that their decision was based upon concerns regarding “Islamophobia.”

Hamline University claims to have a commitment to embrace free expression, even in instances that it may  be disconcerting to individuals. This freedom is supposed to ensure that faculty members have the ability to decide what materials they teach and in what manner they display them. Additionally, Prater took the time before displaying the work to state that those who choose not to look should not feel obligated to.

Following Praters nonrenewal, many have claimed that fellow faculty have felt they must censor their materials in order to avoid repercussions. Additionally, the University violated their academic freedom policies through the nonrenewal of Prater.