By: Elsa Bolt Email
By: Elsa Bolt Email

Elaina Smith is seen in this video putting condoms on some of the crosses that were set up at WKU's old football stadium.

The footage was taken by Hilltoppers for Life, who had originally put together the cross display, to represent the number of abortions in a day.

Smith says she tampered with the display as part of an art project that involved creating exhibits across campus.

Her Art Professor, Kristina Arnold, says she did not disprove of the idea and that she encourages learning.

Arnold released a statement that in part reads "... Learning and debating are not always pretty or polite processes. Critical engagement with ideas can get messy. If we are asked to introduce our students to all the tools of debate and engagement, they will use these tools. The use and discovery of tools, and the use and discovery of voice is exactly what is occurring on our campus, on both sides of this current discussion...."

And the issue has created some debate among art students around campus.

"I see like the condoms relating to the abortions, it makes sense, and it would be relevant to a certain meaning of an artist's statement," says Dean Christensen, an art major at WKU who considers Smith's actions as art.

"I don't consider it art because it doesn't really take much artistic talent to place a bunch of condoms on crosses," says Martin Kenny, an art major at WKU who does not consider Smith's actions as art.

The University is also speaking up, saying they have resolved the issue.

President Gary Ransdell's statement in part reads... "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."

Contrary to Ransdell's statement, Elaina Smith told WBKO that she has not apologized to anyone yet.

The President of the pro-life group says he does not want Smith to get school credit for the project.

However, Professor Arnold says no decision has been made whether the Smith will get class credit.

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  • by jim Location: charlotte, n.c. on Apr 28, 2012 at 09:33 AM
    This just shows how sick student Elaina Smith and professor Kristina Arnold are mentally. I think they both are perverts. This is what we pay tax dollars to support. It's not free speech, it's not art. It's SICK
  • by Anonymous Location: Bowling Green on Apr 26, 2012 at 08:53 PM
    Just to clarify, Gary Ransdell was mistaken when he claimed that the Elaina Smith apologized. Read an email sent from Ms. Smith to the Students for Life organization here: There was no apology, and there hasn't been satisfactory resolution. I would like to see who cries foul the next time an art project by a WKU art student is "enhanced" or added to as a display of "freedom of expression."
  • by Anonymous on Apr 26, 2012 at 04:01 PM
    The pro-life exhibit wasn't a religous display -- it was to represent a cemetery, and crosses are commonly used to mark graves. The school's permission to have the display wasn't promoting religous views -- it was allowing them the same rights to express their views as everyone else. If she wanted to comment on the display, she should have put up her own batch of crosses with whatever she wanted on them.
  • by John Location: Bowling Green on Apr 26, 2012 at 03:55 PM
    There is a reason that Universities are more liberal than the general population around here...BECAUSE THE PEOPLE THERE ARE SMARTER AND MORE CULTURED! So, get over it...if you don't want your kid to experience all that crazy "learnin", then put them to work on your farm and don't let them go. When a political party (republicans) start saying that education is "bad", or arrogant, then this country will quickly fall the more of them there are. To read the responses on this topic shows how delusional and arrogant local christians are...they can force their beliefs on everyone else, but feel like oppressed victims if one person questions theirs...PATHETIC.
  • by forksmuggler on Apr 26, 2012 at 02:14 PM
    Yeah, because putting condoms on popsicle sticks is exactly like desecrating a grave or vandalizing someone's car. Some of you people need to get a grip. It's a university, for Pete's sake. The free and unfettered exchange of ideas, including dissenting ones, is paramount. I say "kudos" to the art department and Ms. Arnold. And when someone figures out why on Earth a pro-life group would be offended by or opposed to condoms, which prevent unwanted pregnancies thereby reducing the number of abortions, please let me know.
  • by TW Location: Louisville, KY on Apr 26, 2012 at 01:48 PM
    I have never been prouder to be a Hilltopper, and though I haven't given in the past, I am not motivated to do so, to make up for all the easily-offended "donors" who can no longer bring themselves to give to such a great institution.
  • by MikeDdawg Location: Warner Robins, GA on Apr 26, 2012 at 12:55 PM
    Filthy, vile and disgusting to desecrate the symbol of Christ's suffering for the sins of the world. He died on a cross for the very one who also desecrated them if she will turn to Him. I hope that donors withdraw support from this liberal excuse for a college. The professor and the president's statements were shallow and ridiculous. If they paint the president's home and call it art, would he have the same point of view? If these were Muslim symbols instead of crosses, would they dare to desecrate them? Have common sense and decency ceased to exist in liberal circles?
  • by Anonymous on Apr 26, 2012 at 07:47 AM
    First I don't think this is a religious issue. I think this is an issue of expression. It seems to me that everyone is over looking the message. I think the student should get credit and everyone should stop whining. Abortion wouldn't be a big issue if the youth would learn some responsibility.
  • by Matthew Location: Lansing on Apr 25, 2012 at 07:55 PM
    The student should have made her own display instead of using someone else's to express herself. Maybe students should paint pictures over the art teacher's car and call it art, and then when the teacher complains they can advocate for their freedom of speech. To respond to John's comment about right wing nutjobs - free speech does not equal lawlessness. Even if we disagree, we should disagree respectfully.
  • by Mark Location: B.G. on Apr 25, 2012 at 06:48 PM
    Elaina Smith's actions is like urinating on a Crucifix 3300 times in one day. Professor Kristina Arnold approves and supports vandalism as the vandal's art now and may give full credit for desecration. Professor Arnold and Elaina Smith can't complain when someone desecrates their own grandmother's grave.
    • reply
      by Erin on Apr 26, 2012 at 02:49 PM in reply to Mark
      Wow, That is a bit over the top. Maybe you should reevaluate your statement there. I am assuming you are a Christian. Maybe you should think about that for a while, and do some reading on what that means. Why is sex so scary to you? Why is it so bad that anything related to it is like "urinating on a crucifix 3300 times." Elaina Smith seems to be giving a valid solution, which is opening up a dialog about sexual health, and the original art piece seems to only be about shame. I seem to remember a story in the bible about some rocks and sin that you should really look up.
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