A Carnegie Mellon University coed’s semi-nude papal parody in a spring carnival parade was “highly offensive,” university President Jared Cohon said on Wednesday.
“We have procedures for a reason: to protect both the university’s interests and those accused of violating our community standards or policies. We will take the time necessary to discharge our responsibility to treat those involved fairly,” Cohon wrote in a campus email.
Before Cohon’s statement, Carnegie Mellon’s only response was that officials were reviewing the April 18 incident to determine whether community standards or laws were violated.
Cohon said he intended to remain silent until the review was complete.
“But in light of comments I have heard from people on and off campus, I have decided that an update is in order,” he wrote.
“I regret that this occurred and I apologize to all who were offended by this, for religious or other reasons, and especially to those who witnessed this behavior.”
The College of Fine Arts sponsored the parade, its fourth annual Anti-Gravity Downhill Derby.
Bishop David Zubik of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh contacted the university last week after receiving photos from the parade. He asked university officials to address what happened.
A young woman, wearing mock papal robes from the waist up but naked from the waist down, handed out condoms. Her pubic hair was shaved in the shape of a cross. Another student parodied an altar boy.