Students speak out after Villanova cancels workshop by gay performance artist

Tim Miller is used to adversity.

He was part of a handful of artists (the NEA 4) in the center of a culture war in the 1990s, when the National Endowment for the Arts — pressured by Congress — revoked funding for art deemed obscene.

Miller, whose solo performance work often involves issues of identity and sexuality, was invited to host a weeklong workshop on Villanova University’s campus to help students create solo pieces of their own. The invitation was abruptly canceled by the university, which stated his work was not in keeping with Villanova’s Catholic values.

Some students are speaking out against the administration for canceling an appearance by the gay performance artist.

“They are not willing to listen, and respect somebody who is a child of God,” said Elizabeth Marafino, a senior at Villanova. “They are not allowing him to have a voice. I always thought Catholicism was part of Christianity that was more open to hearing people’s voices. But I guess they’re not.”

Marafino is part of a loose affiliation of students opposing the cancellation. While she has little hope of bringing Miller to campus at this point, she wants the university officials to know her frustration.

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