UArts: Support Transgender Students and Survivors of Sexual Assault
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Camille Paglia has been teaching at UArts for many years, and has only become more controversial over time. In recent interviews she has blatantly mocked survivors of sexual assault and the #MeToo movement, and in classes and interviews has mocked and degraded transgender individuals. She believes that most transgender people are merely participating in a fashion trend ("I question whether the transgender choice is genuine in every single case"), and that universities should not consider any sexual assault cases reported more than six months after the incident, because she thinks those cases just consist of women who regret having sex and falsely see themselves as victims. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRX4gscvHtA&list=PLqUrDO_vbAuZi-0pfyTUfv4AK8vMg8oiY&index=12
The University of the Arts provided space and promotion for Paglia to give a public lecture entitled “Ambiguous Images: Sexual Duality and Sexual Multiplicity in Western Art + Androgyny” on Tuesday, April 9th at 7:00pm. Paglia's books were being sold in the lobby. Students protested this event, staging peaceful a sit-in in the lobby and chanting "we believe survivors, trans lives matter."
Despite a supposed commitment to "diversity and inclusion", and despite explicit Title IX policies protecting the rights and dignity of transgender students and victims of sexual assault, UArts President David Yager issued a statement in which he dismissed the student protest of Paglia's event as "censorship" and likened it to "persecution" of artists. This only illustrates President Yager's concern for Paglia's first amendment rights, with no value placed on the same rights students hold to express and defend who they are.
Here is what we demand of UArts:
1) Camille Paglia should be removed from UArts faculty and replaced by a queer person of color. If, due to tenure, it is absolutely illegal to remove her, then the University must at least offer alternate sections of the classes she teaches, instead taught by professors who respect transgender students and survivors of sexual assault.
2) The University of the Arts must cease to provide Camille Paglia additional platforms such as public events and opportunities to sell her books on campus.
3) The University of the Arts must apologize for its embarrassing response to this situation, and specifically President David Yager must apologize for his wildly ignorant and hypocritical letter.
4) The University of the Arts must sit down with a group of transgenders students and survivors of sexual assault to discuss how they can best be supported moving forward. This group must include students of color.
UArts: you are disrespecting your students and putting them in danger. Do better.
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