A parent of a University of California, San Diego, student has expressed her anger at one of the school’s visual arts courses, which she claims forces students to perform naked.
The course, Visual Arts 104A: Performing the Self, has been taught by associate professor Ricardo Dominguez for 11 years.
“It bothers me. I'm not sending her to school for this,” the mother said to local station KGTV.
“To blanket[ly] say, 'You must be naked in order to pass my class' - it makes me sick to my stomach,” she added.
Dominguez rejected such criticism, stressing to KGTV that students were made aware of the nature of the course from the beginning. He added that in 11 years of carrying out the project, called "The Erotic Self," he has never received a single complaint.
“[The class] has a number of prompts for short performances called 'gestures,'” department chair Dr. Jordan Crandall said in a statement to KGTV. “... 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.”
However, the student’s mother, who wished to remain anonymous, took a different view.
“Nothing was ever explained,” she said. "Nothing was ever stipulated prior to Thursday."
Dominguez explained that during the nude performance, the lighting in the classroom is turned down and only candles are used.
"It's a standard canvas for performance art and body art," Dominguez added. "It is all very controlled. If they are uncomfortable with this gesture, they should not take the class."