Carnegie Mellon student Katherine O Connor was this past Friday charged for indecent exposure after having recently taken to parading naked from the waist down on school campus grounds whilst dressed as a Catholic pope. At the time she was passing out condoms with a cross shaved into her pubic hair.
The incident is said to have occurred during the school’s spring fine art parade last month. Also charged was another male student, Robb S. Godshaw, who was naked at the time, yet it has to be determined what he was doing during the time of the parade apart from being nude.
CMU President Jared Cohon said Friday that the misdemeanor charges were filed in Allegheny County against the two students and the school would not take any additional disciplinary action.
Cohon interestingly went on to say the school endorses artistic expression but public nudity is illegal.
‘There are competing values at issue here: Carnegie Mellon aims to be a place where ideas can be expressed and debated openly, but also where people of all backgrounds, faiths, and beliefs feel welcomed and supported.’
Bishop David Zubik of the Pittsburgh Catholic Diocese in turn has reacted by issuing the following remarks:
‘Dialogue, disagreements and even demonstrations must be conducted in an atmosphere of decency,’ Zubik said. ‘I hope that all of us — including the students involved — can learn and grow from this very important lesson.’
The UK‘s dailymail has gone on to reveal that Neither O’Connor nor Godshaw responded to requests for comment from The Associated Press.
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette said Godshaw emailed the newspaper: ‘On the advice of counsel, neither myself nor fellow nude artist are giving comments at this time.’
It is understood the students intend to protest the charges on the grounds of first amendment freedom of speech. Others have though have simply argued the pair were just pulling a stunt.
In the end one wonders if Katherine O Connor was simply exercising artistic acumen of course… or just parading her brand of free love, self expression and the type of role or identity a woman ought to choose for herself in society…?