Students at the University of California San Diego were asked to take their final exams naked in a dark room lit only by candlelight for a visual art class. A mother of one of the students accused the professor of being a pervert, while former students defended the class.
Professor requires student in the nude to pass final exam
Students of the course titled “Visual Arts 104A: Performing the Self” were required by associate professor Ricardo Dominguez to come naked for the final exam. A mother of one of the students said she disapproved of the requirement.
“There’s a perversion going on here. The fact he is a professor and has control over these students, I think he’s taking it way too far,” the mother who refused to be identified told 10News. She got more furious upon learning that the professor himself was naked as the exam was being taken by the students.
Dominguez defended himself from the accusation, saying he had been teaching the course and had been requiring former students to be naked for final exams for 11 years now. He has not received any complaints in the past years.
“At the very end of the class, we’ve done several gestures, they have to nude gesture. The prompt is to speak about or do a gesture or create an installation that says, ‘what is more you than you are. It’s a standard canvas for performance art and body art,” Dominguez explained to 10News.
The professor said that he made the requirement clear at the first day of the class. He told his 20 students that if they are not comfortable with the naked gesture that will be required for the final exam then they should not take the course.
Former students who had taken the course defended the professor and the subject.
“It was in the syllabus and it was said repeatedly from the first class,” one former student told 10News.
Other students said the course is not required for graduation. As for the student whose mother was complaining, she could take another class if she really didn’t want to get naked, one student said.
“Everyone’s going to be naked. She’s not being singled out, she’s not being abused, there’s nothing sexual about it,” said art major Ricardo Ales.
Visual Arts 104A: Performing the Self
“Performing the Self” teaches the student to use “autobiography, dream, confession, fantasy, or other means to invent one’s self in a new way, or to evoke the variety of selves in our imagination,” the description for the course reads.
“The course experiments with and explores the rich possibilities available to the contemporary artist in his or her own persona,” the description reads.
The Chair of the Visual Arts Department, Dr Jordan Crandall, told 10News that removing clothes is not required in the class and that the course is not required for graduation. What the course required for its students is to be naked. They can be creative on how they can achieve this.
“They can do the gesture in any number of ways without actually having to remove their clothes. Dominguez explains this – as does our advising team if concerns are raised with them. There are many ways to perform nudity or nakedness, summoning art history conventions of the nude or laying bare of one’s ‘traumatic’ or most fragile and vulnerable self. One can ‘be’ nude while being covered,” Crandall said.
“There are many comments from former students that are visible online. These comments clarify the matter quite directly. It is important to listen to students who have actually taken the class. Again, the concerns of our students are our department’s first priority.”
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