If final exams weren't stressful enough, a controversy is brewing over an art class at the University of California, San Diego. The class is raising eyebrows because it asks students to be nude as part of their final exam.
Associate professor Ricardo Dominguez teaches the class Visual Arts 104A: Performing the Self. The final exam project is called the "erotic self."
The professor says it is true that students undress to pass the final. He says the students, along with himself, get naked in a candlelit room for part of the final called "performance of self."
Dominguez says students know what is required from the beginning and says if they are uncomfortable, they should avoid taking the class.
Dr. Jordan Crandall, the chairman of university' visual arts department, said in a statement to KGTV stating that nudity was not required to pass the class and the course is not required for graduation:
"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."