Caltech President David Baltimore sent an e-mail to members of his Pasadena campus community on Friday morning to say that the school will not accept artist Richard Serra's hotly debated design for a massive sculpture.
"This is not a judgment about the quality of the proposal, but rather a judgment about the needs of the campus," Baltimore wrote.
Debate over the proposed 80-ton zigzagging steel wall planned for a lawn in front of the school's biological sciences buildings began months earlier. Students protested the divisive nature of the monumental artwork and the lack of procedures for them to air their views. Baltimore was not available for comment about his decision.
The artist's wife, Clara, e-mailed a statement to The Times on Friday regarding the rejection of the design. It says that Baltimore "has decided not to build a Richard Serra landscape sculpture that Caltech had asked the artist to propose...." It also said that among the reasons Baltimore cited for the rejection were "student protests, pressure from faculty members, and the risk that his decision to go ahead with the sculpture might undermine his authority on campus."