ALLENDALE, Mich. (AP/CBS Detroit) — Some students don’t like a Michigan school’s decision to remove a swinging sculpture that students had been using as a popular, makeshift swing since the release of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” video.
Grand Valley State University in Allendale said Tuesday that it had taken down the sculpture, called a bifilar pendulum, and placed it in storage due to concerns about student safety.
In the video, Cyrus appears without clothes on a swinging wrecking ball. Photos and video of people doing the same on the sculpture recently surfaced online.
Joseph Buckenmeyer, a fifth year senior from Romeo, thinks the university mistakenly made it a bigger issue by removing it.
“I think, in all honesty, the videos are hilarious, and they should leave the ball up,” Buckenmeyer said, adding the removal made the issue a national embarrassment.
Associate Vice President for Facilities Services Tim Thimmesch said in a statement the “safety and structural integrity of the current installation and site,” are being reviewed, adding, “Hopefully the pendulum can be reinstalled at that location or we can find another suitable location on campus so people can enjoy it as a piece of art and stay safe.”
On Tuesday night, students gathered outside the Padnos Hall of Science, where the sculpture had been on display, to protest the decision to remove the large ball and cable that had hung there for roughly 18 years. Students held cellphones in the air and sang “Wrecking Ball.”
“It’s just college kids having fun,” Rya Northrop, a senior studying history, told The Grand Rapids Press prior to the gathering. “It’s funny. I think it’s hilarious.”
There’s no timeline for finding a new location. The sculpture was created by artist Dale Eldred in 1973. The school said it had been considering what to do with the piece before the recent parodies, which drew attention on social media websites and elsewhere.
“It’s given us a few chuckles,” Thimmesch said.
But, he added, it was time to take down the statue for repairs anyway, since inspectors noticed part of the cable was fraying.
Buckenmeyer can’t wait to see it returned.
“I did ride it, with clothes on, mind you, I hope they do bring it back, it was really unique it was a nice addition to our campus,” he said.
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