Why U. of Wyoming Removed Controversial Sculpture

October 15, 2012

The University of Wyoming said it removed a controversial sculpture from campus on schedule and because of water damage. But The Casper Star-Tribune, based on e-mail records it obtained, said that the schedule was moved up amid concern about how the sculpture was offending the coal industry, legislators and donors. The large sculpture, "Carbon Sink: What Goes Around, Comes Around," featured coal and wood sinking into the earth, and was viewed by many as anti-coal. The e-mail records show university officials worried about the fallout from those criticizing the sculpture, and reaching out to let them know that the work was being removed. The e-mails also show considerable anger over the sculpture. An e-mail from Bruce Hinchey, president of the Petroleum Association of Wyoming, said: "The next time the University of Wyoming is asking for donations it might be helpful to remind them of this and other things they have done to the industries that feed them before you donate.... They always hide behind academic freedom but their policies and actions can change if they so choose."


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