Art and free speech

Dear Dr. Jackson,

It has come to my attention that Mr. Bilal’s art exhibition has been shut
down due to controversy. It must be difficult as a university administrator
to make the right call on such matters. It seems a very good thing that Mr.
Bilal’s art is concerned with communicating in part that we are in fact NOT
at war with Iraq but with the insurgents in Iraq, some of which are Iraqi.
I realize that such distinctions are fairly moot when it comes to funding
issues that concern RPI let alone public opinion. Isn’t it sad that our
society isn’t big enough in spirit to tolerate outspoken artists anymore?

Maybe you could reconsider and re-open Mr. Bilal’s exhibition with some sort
of disclaimer– without hurting his right of free speech and our right to
take his art seriously or not. Is his art really such a threat or are you
perhaps showing too much fear of open discourse on difficult subjects?
Until now, I thought RPI was a progressive institution. Please reconsider.
You don’t have to be a part of a scared, repressive force in our country.
You can be a peacemaker, a truthteller, a light for us all.

Thank you,

Abbie Conant

Prof. Abbie Conant

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