Filed Under campus

The Statue Liberation Society

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, a group of pranksters calling themselves the Statue Liberation Society kept busy by 'borrowing' various statues around the University of Illinois campus.

In 1979 the Lincoln bust that sits in the main entryway was stolen by the Statue Liberation Society. A few days later, an anonymous tipster alerted the University police, and the bust was recovered from a tree stump on the eighth hole of the University golf course. Since the theft, questions have arisen as to how and when the bust was slightly damaged - whether it was during the time of the heist and the days in which it was missing, or at a later date.

The bust has recently been refurbished to its original splendor, and secured with bolts to the marble slab underneath.

In early 2011, an anonymous member of the Statue Liberation Society sent in a garbled message to the Lincoln Hall Storyography project attempting to set the record straight about what happened during the Lincoln heist. The transcript can be viewed on the Storyography website.

During the Lincoln Hall renovation, the Spurlock Museum hosted the bust.

On December 5, 1981, the Statue Liberation Society struck again; this time stealing the Lloyd Morey bust from its place in the main library atrium.

This appears to be the last theft by the Society. With this theft, which according to the Daily Illini in October of 1982 was the third theft of this particular bust, came a list of six demands:

1) Make bike path laws strictly enforced and safer for pedestrians
2) The University's food should be upgraded to humane level
3) Check cashing services must be increased to 30 dollars
4) More security and lighting must be provided to ensure safety of women walking in campus
5) Students must be able to renew their basketball season tickets
6) Building security must be increased so "hooligans like us cannot take anything they want anytime"

To this day, Lloyd Morey remains missing from his post inside the main library. The alcove where he should sit still bears his name and platform.


Lincoln Bust Confession File courtesy the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Storyography project


Lloyd Morey's Alcove An empty alcove where the Lloyd Morey bust was housed until it was stolen in December of 1981. To this day it remains empty. Image Courtesy of the Explore CU Team
the refurbished Lincoln Bust in place at Lincoln Hall Image courtesy ExploreCU team



“The Statue Liberation Society,” ExploreCU, accessed January 27, 2022,