Support Freedom of Expression at the Art Institute of California-San Francisco sign now

The last place art and expression should be censored is at an art school, right?

Unfortunately, the administrators of the Art Institute of California-San Francisco (AiCA-SF) do not agree. In the past two years, AiCA-SF administrators have admitted to censoring artwork on a club flyer announcing meetings, a sculpture displayed in the student gallery, a photograph selected for inclusion in the Taboo student art show held in December 2006 and the student magazine Mute/Off (which can be found on-line at http://www.brandedmonkey.com/muteOffLowRes.pdf) produced by the students of Dr. Ovetz Fall 2006 Cultural Studies class.

Censorship at an art school undermines the value of our education because it intimidates and scares students from freely expressing themselves out of fear of reprimand, learning from their mistakes and improving their skills that are necessary for finding employment. Likewise, it prevents our instructors from openly expressing their opinions and knowledge that is essential to our success as commercial artists. For example, as a consequence for speaking up against the censorship of Mute/Off Dr. Ovetz was fired. He had taught Liberal Studies courses at AiCA-SF for about three years, was a popular member of the faculty and even received two pay raises.

In addition to censorship being a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, AiCA-SFs stated policy allowing it to remove any artwork viewed as objectionable by some audiences (Student Handbook, 2006, p. 170) is illegal under the California Leonard Law and must end. The law also prohibits the disciplining of any students for expressing their opinions in their art and writings.

We the undersigned urgently call for an end to the censorship of art, expression and student journalism at the Art Institute of California-San Francisco.

Signed,

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Sylvia NielsenBy:
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