Western KY Univ. cross display by Students for Life desecrated with condoms...campus police refuse to intervene and students given credit for art project.
Updated:On Friday, the university sent out the following statement below in
response to the outpouring of contacts.
Thank you for your recent email regarding the unfortunate
and distasteful act which occurred at the Hilltoppers for Life pro-life display
on the WKU campus last Thursday night. My colleagues on the faculty and
staff at WKU take this matter very seriously. Unfortunately, Dean Dennis
George was incorrectly identified as a responsible party. He is a Dean of
one of six undergraduate colleges and in no way relates to our campus Police or
student disciplinary procedures.
In response to your message, we offer the following
insights. The pro-life display was created by a sanctioned official WKU
student organization called Hilltoppers for Life. They requested and
received permission to create their display which consisted of red and black
paper covering the bleacher seats of our campus amphitheater with several small
crosses made from popsicle sticks glued to the paper. It was on display
during the week of April 16 and was taken down, as scheduled on Friday morning,
On the morning of April 20 at around 2:30 a.m., one
student and her non-student boyfriend chose to place condoms over some of the
crosses as a gesture of birth control. They said it was an assignment
from an Art Installation course that involves placing art exhibits across
campus. The faculty member’s intent of the art assignment was not to
target this particular display. That decision was made by the student who chose
to make her own statement for birth control at the expense of the Hilltoppers
for Life endeavor.
The Hilltoppers for Life students keeping watch over the
exhibit, after allowing a few hundred condoms to be placed on the crosses,
eventually called the police who arrived promptly. It was a calm scene
and the police chose to keep it that way. They allowed the student to
remove the condoms and leave peacefully—which is what occurred. There was
no aggressive behavior or incident. The display was not damaged other
than the disrespectful symbolism that this incident unfortunately
When I and the appropriate administrators learned of the
situation, we promptly issued a statement in support of free speech and that
the University does not condone any attempts by individuals or groups to inhibit
anyone’s or any group’s right to free speech or creative activity. The
proper administrators have also met with the student and faculty member.
Our message was direct and firm.
No member of our University family should impede another
member of our family’s freedom of speech or creative effort, especially when it
comes to exercising religious freedoms. The offending student has
apologized. This matter has been dealt with properly, decisively, and
brought to a conclusion. Your interest in and support of WKU and its
priorities for First Amendment rights is appreciated.
Early this morning campus police at Western Kentucky University (WKU) refused to stop vandals from draping condoms on the top of small crosses in the stadium – these crosses, 3,700 of them, symbolize how many unborn children die through abortion each day in the US and were installed by the Hilltoppers for Life group on campus. The vandals were art students who claimed the condoms were part of an art project.
The Hilltoppers for Life group members, who had been keeping an eye on their display through the night in reaction to similaracts of vandalismto pro-life displays at other campuses including nearby Northern Kentucky University, asked the art students to stop and then called campus police. The students refused and the campus police just stood by and watched. The police claimed that they, “couldn’t do anything because the condoms aren’t actually vandalizing even though the crosses are the property of Hilltoppers for Life and they have the administration’s permission for their display.
Claiming art as vandalism is disingenuous and disturbing at best. The desecration of the crosses at WKU is sacrilegious, offensive, and borders on a hate crime. While we have seen vandalism before at other campuses across the nation, it is not uncommon for students to face opposition of this nature but usually the campus police do help out and stop the vandalism rather than hide behind some ‘artistic expression’ excuse.
John Sohl, President of WKU Hilltoppers for Life relays his first hand account here:
“All I wanted to do was take a nap during the last night of a very successful Life Week at WKU. But just as I was dozing off, my brother spotted two people dressed in dark clothing, hanging something in front of our display! Well, it didn’t take long to figure out what they were doing because we had been waiting for something like this all week long. Yes…they were vandalizing our Cemetery of the Innocents.
But it wasn’t what we expected. Instead of breaking crosses and destroying our design, they were taking a different approach. They were placinga condom onevery single cross,what would have become over 3,000 crosses…had we not done something about it. Yet, after contacting campus police, they told us there was nothing they could do about it, despite the fact that it wason our display. The vandals argued they were doing this for an art project for school, as anapprovedassignment, which makes me wonder…how does the university have the right to approve assignments that vandalize and desecrate the property and displays of other people?
Things did get resolved, but the girl is still getting credit for her project, and the police still did nothing to stop it. Students did not see this display luckily, but had we not been there watching it, we would have woken up to almost 4,000 desecrated tombstones. I never thought this wouldactuallyhappen to our little pro-life group. All we wanted was to get a little more active!”
Please take a moment today to:
1) Call or Email WKU Dean, Dr. Dennis George at 270-745-8723or email@example.com express your outrage and demand the university apologize to WKU Hilltoppers for Life and to train the campus police that putting condoms on some one else’s crosses is not art or freedom of expression, it is desecration and vandalism.