Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Declines to Reopen Exhibit
March 10, 2008
After extensive and careful deliberation and consideration of the origin, content, and intent of the “Virtual Jihadi” video game exhibit by digital media artist Wafaa Bilal, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has decided not to reopen the exhibit on the Troy campus. The decision was based on numerous concerns, including, in particular two characteristics of the video game in the exhibit, as affirmed by the artist: First, that the video game in the exhibit is derived from the product of a terrorist organization; and second, that the video game is targeted to and suggests the killing of the President of the United States.
Rensselaer fully supports academic and artistic freedom. We respect the rights of all members of the Rensselaer community and their guests to express their opinions and viewpoints. However, as stewards of a private university, we have the right and, indeed, the responsibility to ensure that university resources are used in ways that are in the overall best interests of the institution.
William N. Walker
Vice President for Strategic Communications and External Relations