The Rose Art Museum at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., has built an impressive collection of contemporary artists since it opened in 1961. But now, on the floor-to-ceiling glass wall at its entry is tacked another sort of display: poster boards, some shaped like tombstones, with “R.I.P.” scrawled in magic marker. These are physical manifestations of the outrage generated by a Jan. 26, 2009, announcement that Brandeis' trustees had voted unanimously to close the museum and sell ...

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