04 April 2004

No art, all fear

I previously wrote a post, "Art, Fear, and Violence" about a student who was expelled for writing a violent short story for a class at the Academy of Art University. The teacher was also fired (read the comments to the entry to watch Nick Mamatas attempt to enlighten me, and me respond by digging in my heels.)

Well, the story is, unfortunately, not over. Cory Doctorow over at boingboing posted the following, which he gave the excellent title "Academy of Art University: Free speech chickenshits":
Neil Gaiman forwarded this note from Daniel "Lemony Snicket" Handler:
The Academy of Art University here in San Francisco - the biggest art school in the country - recently expelled a student for writing a violent short story, and then fired his instructor for teaching a story by David Foster Wallace the administration also found offensive.

As this story broke in the press the school has responded by announcing stringent policies regarding the content of students' artwork (writing, visual art, film, video game design, etc.), what can be taught in the classroom, and who is allowed to speak on campus.  This was brought home to me when an instructor at the college invited me to speak to his class (along with the fired teacher and a representative of the First Amendment Project) and I was physically barred from entering the building.
All students at that supposed university should leave immediately. Or else the administration should be sent to ... oh, I don't know ... Libya? Do these people work for the FCC or something?

Update: Neil Gaiman offers more, including a note that the university got a complaint from Salman Rushdie, currently head of the PEN American Center, and that they claimed not to know who he was. I can understand non-English dept. folk not knowing David Foster Wallace's name, but Rushdie?!

Also, Nick Mamatas offers his thoughts, which are, as always, worth reading. The comments are interesting, too.

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