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Outrage that Students Have to Perform Nude In Order to Pass Visual Arts Class at UC-San Diego

Emanuel Shirazi

If studying for finals wasn’t nerve wracking enough, a University of California-San Diego Visual Arts professor requires students to perform naked in order to pass the class. A mother of one of the students is outraged.

The class entitled “Performing for the Self ” focuses on the history of body art and performance art in relation to the question of the self or subjectivity and is composed of a series of gestures that students must complete. For the final gesture (appropriately named “Erotic Self”), the professor and the students must get naked in a candlelit room. Associate Professor Ricardo Dominguez has been teaching the class at the university for 11 years.

Dominguez claims that all his students know what is expected of them prior to taking the class. If a student is uncomfortable with the final gesture however, Dominguez does provide an alternative—to be figuratively or emotionally naked instead. The outraged mother (who has chosen to remain anonymous) claims that her daughter was not given this alternative.

A representative of the university claims that “removing your clothes is not required in this class.” In addition, “the course is not required for graduation.” If students are uncomfortable with being nude, they can choose to bare their fragile or vulnerable self instead. They can “perform nudity” while still remaining fully covered.

Do you think Professor Dominguez is taking advantage of his students by forcing them to get naked in order to pass his class? Is this non workplace sexual harassment? Or do you think Anonymous Mother is blowing things out of proportion?

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