*Background: Wafaa Bilal’s Work in Troy*

This blog brings together letters responding to attacks on democracy in Troy and at RPI. It primarily focuses on the suspension of the Faculty Senate at RPI, the censorship of Wafaa Bilal’s exhibition, and the closing of the Sanctuary for Independent Media by the City of Troy.

Wafaa Bilal’s installation, “Virtual Jihadi,” was suspended and then closed at the RPI campus. An external security company was also instructed to keep Wafaa out of the building, even though he received a letter officially stating that, while his art was banned, he was still welcome on the campus. You can watch an interview with Bilal regarding this incident.

The exhibition took refuge at the Sanctuary for Independent Media. Following a protest, the Sanctuary was shut down by the City of Troy, citing code violations. The organizer of the protest was Bob Mirch, the director of the Department of Public Works, which happens to oversee code violations. Volunteers at the Sanctuary have been working tirelessly on the building and this closure jeopardizes the remaining three programs in the “Art, Freedom, Democracy” series.

This video offers a time line of these events.

Many more details can be found at the RPI Students for Free Culture Wiki.

Please read some of the letters on this site and if you’re inspired to take action, check out the “what can I do?” box on the right of this page.


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