Stop the Censorship of Art!
Stop the Censorship of Art!
Why this petition matters
Censorship is a steppingstone to institutionalized conformity. Institutions such as federally funded Colleges do not have the right to censor students. Yet that is exactly what is happening in Jacksonville, NC. We must fight it to remain a free and creative society.
George, a military veteran who fought to ensure rights for all is facing the loss of his own rights. The college is censoring George's work due to a benefactor complaining after attending one of the art shows. The benefactor is a local dentist in the community and donates large sums to the college. He contacted the administration to inform them that if materials such as George's art were not removed from the Art Show the funding would end. The college administration quickly acted to appease the benefactor. They did this without bringing the matter to the board of trustees of the college. When it was brought to the board the lawyer for the college consulted and advised them against these actions due to infringement of the student's rights. Regardless of this advisement the administration decided to censor Geroge's artwork intentionally and illegally as they were advised that it would violate federal rights.
George is a crusader and avid artist. His artwork aims to be controversial in hopes of invoking thought and questions about one's own reality. The art that was first seen was not obscene, had no nudity, and it broke no laws by the college. (You can view the picture on Instagram and read the meaning behind it). Yet it started a cascade of events. When George went to enter into the next art show both of his pieces of art were banned from the show. Administration could provide no rationale as to why they banned the art and this was essentially the first time this had ever happened at the college. This deeply affected Georges, as art is central part of his life and he was ostracized from all his peers. He did the only thing he could do and hired a lawyer to have his rights restored.
The lawsuit proved effective, and George ultimately won. He was able to obtain with the help of the lawyer 100's of pages and documents all the way to the senior administration proving collusion, discrimination, and censorship. When the indisputable evidence was presented, the administration had no choice but to comply with Georges demands. Now, his demands were not monetary. No, after over a yearlong battle and hours upon hours of investigating all George wanted was an apology (which he emailed to all students in the school) and good faith that the college wouldn't do it again. However, it wasn't long (the next semester) that the administration proved that it was all lip service, and they would continue to censor students. They showed this by retaliating against George and canceling the entire art show. No other show, play, club, or extracurricular activity was cancelled. Drawing the conclusion that if the administration can't censor one student's artwork out, they will just censor ALL student's artwork.
We NEED your support to challenge this college and benefactor. To make it clear that a school that receives federally fundings is funded BY the people and FOR the people. Not to serve another ulterior motive such as stifling the people's rights to appease a benefactor for private funds. It must also be made clear that no degree, amount of money, or affluence places one above the law. I urge you to stand up and speak out against it!
This petition is focused on bringing back the art show, but the administration is censoring all aspects of the college. Performances, musicals, any demonstration has to submit their work for approval by the administration. You may wonder why would a teacher put up with this? Woudlnt they just flat out refuse or speak up about the infringement on the first amendment? We'll the college has that covered through silencing. They threaten all staff members with the loss of their job if they don’t comply. In order for a teacher to stay at the school they must be "invited back," there is no contracts for a specified time or tenure. Placing teachers with an impossible task to stand up for whats right or pay their bills, have food on the table, and support their families. The teachers own advisor reports to the employee that it is best to let things go and not to bring it up with administration or they won't be invited back again.
This college administration is stricken with ungoverned power. We must act as the checks and balances. Sign the petition to stop censorship. Let them know it’s 2022 and we won't stand for this in a college that WE the people pay for.
Heres a link to the photo that were banned by the college:
You can also see more of his artwork on:4
Instagram handle: eatcats33 & Twitter @artbygwc