Indiana University Kokomo: Student Sculptures Taken Down After Complaints

Category: Cases, Free Speech
Schools: Indiana University – Kokomo

In July 2018, Indiana University Kokomo (IUK) Associate Professor of Fine Arts Gregory Steel worked with students who created sculptures for display on concrete pads Steel requested the previous summer for the grounds outside the arts building. Around July 30, IUK staff installed two sculptures chosen by Steel, one of which bore resemblance to female genitalia. Within a week, IUK removed the sculptures without warning Steel. Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Mark Canada later told Steel that the sculptures were taken down because they prompted complaints. On October 22, FIRE and PEN America wrote to IUK Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesecke to call for the sculptures’ restoration. IUK restored the sculptures later that month. But prior to the sculptures’ reinstallation, Canada sent an email warning that the sculptures would be removed again if they prompted further complaints, prompting a second letter from FIRE and PEN America on December 20. On December 22, IUK confirmed to FIRE and PEN America that the sculptures would remain on display through the end of the academic year.