Cupid causes controversy

Art versus nudity
A professor’s poster stirs controversy
By: Jennie Nicholls
Assistant News editor

UVSC’s campus is cluttered with posters advertising events, classes and speakers. The posters hang, dismissed by most passer-bys in most situations. But that may be about to change.

During the past few weeks, resident artist and professor Alex Caldiero has wanted to advertise for his spring semester class Humanities 2020. The class is described in the UVSC course catalog: "Explore formative creative events in history and their relationships to modern issues. Presents perspectives of traditional humanistic values of arts and ideas. Investigates how others have dealt with problems that humans faced in the past, and possible strategies for problem solving that might aid students today."

Caldiero designed a poster to be hung in the halls of USVC to advertise for the class. The posters were simple in design, featuring Caravaggio’s painting “Amor Vincit Omnia” (“Love Conquers All”) circa 1602 as one of the poster’s graphics. The Carravaggio painting is of a naked cupid standing over a violin, sheet music and scrolls. Cupid is seemed to be “prevailing over all human endeavors: war, music, science, government,” described Wikipedia of the painting.

Considering the class content that Caldiero will be covering, this painting seems to exemplify that which will be covered during the course.

However, when Caldiero submitted the poster for stamping to Campus Connection, he was denied the stamp of approval because of the nude cupid.

The actual size of the Carravagio graphic in regards to the poster is quite small. The poster itself is smaller than average and the image of Caravaggio’s cupid is only a couple inches in perimeter.

Campus Connection is not the deciding entity on matters of unacceptable content.

When Campus Connection employees review items for approval and find something that may be offensive they, "push it up the chain of command," said Joel Herd, Campus Connection’s Student Center coordinator.

Once Campus Connection identifies something as inappropriate or problematic, they give the responsibility to make the decision of whether it can be posted or not to the Office of Student Affairs, care of Bob Rasmussen, Cory Duckworth, and since this particular poster involves a course on campus, it was sent to review by vice president of academic affairs, Elizabeth Hitch.
Herd said that the policy for what constitutes rejection or review is underway, but there is technically not a set policy in place.

Currently in use is the policy for indoor signage. The policy does not include any hard rules as to what is acceptable and what should be deemed as inappropriate.

The UVSC policy and procedures rules of signage are not specific and do not target the content of the posters hung except in the rule that states, “Signs must be ‘neat in appearance’ and any free-hand writing. Should be of exceptional quality. Signs must have no misspellings, cross-outs, ink spots, etc.”

Herd also noted that it is quite rare for Campus Connection to deny posting rights. "In the past 3-4 years, only 2-3 posters have been turned away," said Herd.

After reviewing the poster, Hitch made the decision to allow the posters to be hung. The posters are now hanging on bulletin boards all across campus, with nude cupid and all.

The popularity of Caldiero’s humanities class due to the posters and the surrounding controversy is yet to be seen. Humanities 2020 will be offered MWF from 10:00 a.m. to 10:50 a.m. in LA 103 for the spring 2008 semester.

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