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Tuesday, January 25, 2005

What is good for the professor is not so good for the student?

Two profs at UCLA resigned after the school failed to suspend a student who used a "gun" in a classroom performance. It isn't clear if the gun was real or not, but the profs evidently "feared for their lives." In response to the isolated incident, the profs have resigned their $60K+ per year jobs?

From the Los Angeles Times:
Internationally known artists Chris Burden and Nancy Rubins have retired abruptly from their longtime professorships at UCLA in part because the university refused to suspend a graduate student who used a gun during a classroom performance art piece, a spokeswoman for the artists said Friday. "They feel this was sort of domestic terrorism. There should have been more outrage and a firmer response," said Sarah Watson, a director at Gagosian Gallery in Beverly Hills, which represents Burden and Rubins. "People feared for their lives."

The handgun incident occurred Nov. 29 at UCLA's graduate art studio annex in Culver City. The brief performance involved a simulation of Russian roulette, in which the student appeared before the class holding a handgun, put in what appeared to be a bullet, spun the cylinder, then pointed the gun at his head and pulled the trigger, according to one student's account that was confirmed by law enforcement sources. The weapon didn't fire. The student quickly left the room, then the audience heard a shot from outside. What ensued is not clear, but police said no one was hurt. The incident prompted investigations by university police and the dean of students' office into whether the student violated criminal law or student conduct codes. There is some confusion over whether the gun was real.
But here is the best part, remember Burden is one of the profs who is quitting over the gun episode:

Burden made his name in the early 1970s with influential and controversial performance art. In his best-known piece, "Shoot," performed in a Santa Ana gallery while he was a graduate student at UC Irvine, Burden had an assistant stand 15 feet away and shoot him in the upper arm with a .22-caliber rifle. Watson said Burden's work was controlled and that the audiences never felt in jeopardy. The UCLA case is different, she said, because it was a surprise action and "there was genuine fear."
So, the professor cut his teeth using a REAL gun but the student isn't allowed to do the same? The flower children have truly grown up to become 'The Man.'

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