Updated:PITTSBURGH (AP) (AP)strong>
The president of Carnegie Mellon University has apologized for a student who dressed half-naked as the pope, with her pubic hair shaved in the shape of a cross, during a campus fine arts parade last month.
President Jared Cohon said he planned to remain silent until the school completes its internal disciplinary review of the incident. But he instead decided to apologize for the "highly offensive" behavior of the unnamed student -- who also threw condoms to onlookers -- in the wake of criticism of the incident by Pittsburgh Catholic Bishop David Zubik and others.
Zubik said he trusts the school will respond "responsibly" but said he felt a need to speak up for offended believers.
Cohon said observers shouldn't equate the school's "limited communication" about the incident with "no action."
Meanwhile, some of the student’s fellow classmates gathered on campus Thursday to show their support.
Students who rallied behind the girl held signs and said they support her because what she did was “artistic expression.”
“Given the context, partial nudity is common,” CMU student Madelyn Glymour said. “It didn’t violate community standards. It’s political.”
One student held a sign that said, “Censorship is Offensive.”
“We have a clear message. We support freedom of expression and we don’t support punishment for the student,” Glymour said.