SAN DIEGO, Calif. — A visual arts professor at the University of California San Diego (USCD) has been requiring students to take the final exam “naked” for the past 11 years, causing one mother to take a stand and speak out against the “perversion.”
“Create a gesture that traces, outlines or speaks about your ‘erotic self(s),'” the assignment reads in the course syllabus taught by professor Roberto Dominguez.
According to reports, students are required to be naked for the exam, whether physically or “emotionally,” and Dominguez himself comes to the final in the nude. Amanda Fitzmorris, chair of the College Republicans at UCSD, told reporters on Tuesday that only one student in the past decade has ever opted to be “emotionally naked.”
“It bothers me. I’m not sending her to school for this,” one distraught mother who opted to be anonymous told local television station KGTV. “How terrible. … This is just wrong.”
“To blanketly say you must be naked in order to pass my class, it makes me sick to my stomach,” she said. “There’s a perversion going on here. Shame on him and shame on the university.”
Dominguez defended the requirement to the outlet, explaining that the classes include a variety of “gestures,” with the final one being about the “erotic self.” Approximately 20 students arrive unclothed and sit in a darkened room lit only by candlelight.
“At the very end of the class—we’ve done several gestures—they have to nude gesture,” he explained. “The prompt is to speak about or do a gesture or create an installation that says, ‘What is more you than you are.'”
“It’s the standard canvas for performance art and body art,” Dominguez continued. “It is all very controlled.”
The professor asserted that if students are “uncomfortable with this gesture, they should not take the class.” Students are required to be present in every class.
But the anonymous mother said that her daughter knew nothing of the requirement and that it was never discussed until the end.
Chair of the Visual Arts Department, Dr. Jordan Crandall, likewise defended the class in a statement, noting that students have other ways to be “naked” to fulfill the assignment.
“Removing your clothing is not required in this class,” he said. “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 vulnable self. One can ‘be’ nude while being covered.”
Dominguez says that he has never had a complaint about the class until now.
Photo: Alex Hansen