In appreciation for the college’s enthusiastic support for their Valentine’s Day newspaper condom campaign, Planned Parenthood will be donating a life-size marble replica of male genitalia, decaled with a limestone condom.
“More than anyone, we appreciate the beauty of reproduction,” said Filatia Smith, about the sculpture.
“What better way to advocate the responsible care of one’s body, than to display it through art?”
But controversy has ignited over this development. Head of the Art in Society Department, Mary Carolina, said the ASD is divided about whether or not to accept the gift. Personally, she is working to ban placement of the statue.
“There are boundaries I feel we as a college have no right to cross,” she said. “This is offensive material not fit for a population of mixed perspective, belief, and political affiliation.”
The artist, Jonathon Lawrence Miller McLuther, said he is surprised that a progressive Washington college with such a liberal majority could think to oppose such a thought-provoking art form.
“Man, you can close your eyes and act like it’s not here,” he said. “But this is what it looks like. This is a human being.”
Having not dealt with a controversial piece of donated art in years, the college will convene a committee with representatives from both sides presenting their arguments and gathering support and evidence of the feeling among the student population.
“We don’t know how to deal with this,” Art 500 teacher Nancy Gherkin said regarding the divisive effect the sculpture is having on the campus.
She said as time passes, she worries the controversy will pit more and more students against each other and against the teachers and departments who are charged with their education.
“There is no precedent for this type of statement on campus,” she said. “It should not be such a huge matter.
A website will hold a survey for members of the campus community, and mail-in surveys will be sent to the surrounding population to determine whether or not placement of the statue would hinder new students from attending BCC.
“We hadn’t intended to cause stir,” said Smith. “We hold that like Michelangelo’s David, this sculpture does not endorse any type of sexual behavious or exhibition, it just remarks on the beauty of the human body.”The Free Art Club (FAC) will hold a petition to keep the statue, while the Students Against Public Indencency Club will hold a counter petition to prevent the instatement of the figure.
“How are kids going to know how to use a condom unless we show them straight up?” FAC member Brittany Anne Basin said.
“We will win this,” she said, “Because we believe this college will not look freedom of expression in the eye and tell it ‘No’.”