This week, Villanova University’s administration cancelled a weeklong, artist-in-residency program led by performance artist Tim Miller. NCAC and FIRE are calling on Villanova to reverse this decision. The joint letter (below) points out that the decision to cancel Miller’s residency violates the principle of academic freedom.
Miller is known as one of the “NEA Four” – four artists whose grants were vetoed by the National Endowment for the Arts in 1990 because of the content of their performances, and who subsequently fought against content restrictions on NEA grants. Much of his work contains material concerning gay identity.
The faculty who initiated Miller’s planned program at Villanova were aware of his material, and it appears they did not see it as detrimental to his ability to teach a in the artist residency program. It was only after Catholic bloggers attacked Villanova this month that the administration interceded. Villanova cannot afford to undermine its own declared principles of academic freedom and integrity by caving to outside hecklers.