SAN DIEGO, CA (May 11, 2015) – A UC San Diego professor is reportedly requiring his students to take their final exam in the nude, and one mother is outraged.
The class is Visual Arts 104A: Performing the Self, and according to KGTV Associate Professor Ricardo Dominguez has been teaching it for 11 years. Dominguez says the class involves students acting out a series of gestures. “It focuses on the history of body art and performance art in relation to the question of the self or subjectivity,” said Dominguez.
A mother of a student in the class claims that her daughter was forced to perform nude for her final in the class, or risk getting a failing grade.
“It bothers me, I’m not sending her to school for this,” the mother told KGTV. She asked to remain anonymous. “And to blanketly say you must be naked in order to pass my class. It makes me sick to my stomach.”
Dominguez says it’s true, his students have to be nude to pass the final. And he defends his policy. “It’s a standard canvas for performance art and body art.”
Dominguez also says that his students know what is expected of them from the beginning of the semester. “If they are uncomfortable with this gesture they should not take the class.”
But the mother says her daughter was never told that was the expectation. “Nothing was ever stipulated prior to Thursday. There is a perversion going on here. Shame on him and shame on the university. ”
The Chair of the Visual Arts Department, Dr. Jordan Crandall, provided KGTV with the following statement Monday. In it he states that the class is not a requirement for graduation and that students are not required to be nude.
“The concerns of our students are our department’s first priority, and I’d like to offer some contextual information that will help answer questions regarding the pedagogy of VIS 104A.
“Removing your clothes is not required in this class. The course is not required for graduation.
“VIS 104A is an upper division class that Professor Dominguez has taught for 11 years. It has a number of prompts for short performances called “gestures.” These include “Your Life: With 3 Objects and 3 Sounds” and “Confessional Self,” among others. Students are graded on the “Nude/Naked Self” gesture just like all the other gestures. Students are aware from the start of the class that it is a requirement, and that 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.
“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.”