Art Professor of Student, Accused Of Desecrating Pro-Life Cross Display For Project, Speaks Up

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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