The fallout continues at New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnical University (RPI) following last week’s cancellation of a controversial video game art exhibit by Iraqi citizen and Art Institute of Chicago professor Wafaa Bilal.
As reported by the Albany Times-Union, the exhibition, suspended last week while school officials conducted a review, has now been officially expelled from campus. The head of RPI’s Art Department has been ordered to have the exhibit hauled away by day’s end. Of the decision, RPI VP William Walker said via press release:
As stewards of a private university, we have the right and, indeed, the responsibility to ensure that university resources are used in ways that are in the overall best interests of the institution.
Bilal’s exhibit was moved to the off-campus Sanctuary for Independent Media where protesters, led by Robert Mirch (left), Republican majority leader of the Rensselaer County Legislature, expressed their disapproval. Mirch told the Times-Union:
We’re upset about the video game. He can show it. I don’t have to approve it…
This Mirch quote appears on a separate Times-Union blog:
The Sanctuary for Independent Media should cancel this exhibit immediately. Allowing for the portrayal of the assassination of a president to be staged is wrong, un-American and destructive. I support free speech, but this exhibit goes beyond the bounds of what is decent or acceptable.
A counter-protest, organized in support of Bilal, was also present at the exhibit’s new location.