Sunday, May 12, 2013

Campus Police File Indecent Exposure Charges In Art Student's Naked Portrayal of the Pope

According to KDKA News, in Pittsburgh (PA) last week campus police at Carnegie Mellon University filed misdemeanor indecent exposure charges against two students growing out of their conduct at the College of Fine Arts' Anti-Gravity Downhill Derby. The event was part of the University's April 18-20 Spring Carnival. One of the two students charged was 19-year old Katherine O’Connor who appeared in the art school's parade dressed as the pope, naked from the waist down with her pubic hair shaved in the shape of a cross, and passing out condoms.  Prior to the announcement of the filing of charges, the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese had issued a statement saying that it was glad the university was taking seriously complaints about the matter, and said that the student involved "truly offended Catholics and the faith we hold sacred." In a May 10 message (full text) announcing filing of the misdemeanor charges, Carnegie Mellon president Jared Cohon said in part:
The students took part in a campus art event and, in the case of the student who portrayed herself as the Pope, made an artistic statement which proved to be controversial. While I recognize that many found the students’ activities deeply offensive, the university upholds their right to create works of art and express their ideas. But, public nudity is a violation of the law and subject to appropriate action.