Seven art and design school graduates of the 2016 class from the University of Southern California have decided to drop out, protesting over the unnecessary changes in the curriculum, among others. They also accused some of the members of the faculty of unethical treatment. The protest was supported by some of the members of the staff who resigned and encouraged the students to speak their minds and act against the injustice.
A letter was posted on the schools website in which the seven prominent students expressed their reasons for making the decision: “We are a group of seven artists who made the decision to attend USC Roski School of Art and Design’s MFA program based on the faculty, curriculum, program structure, and funding packages. ”
They also complained of the fact that the school had dismantled these elements and stated this was the reason for their decision to quit school and go back to their communities. Some of them had turned down other prestigious university programs in order to come to the University of Southern California. George Egerton-Warburton is one of these students who said that even if the first semester met their expectations, in the second one the faculty structure, the curriculum and the funding had all changed. Moreover, the fact that some prominent professors had left the program prompted the seven students to protest.
They were also dissatisfied with the fact that they had to attend classes that focused on criticism and teaching instead of going to visit studios.
Representatives of the University of Southern Carolina reacted to this decision saying that they believe it is quite radical and that the reason for it is represented by mere “minor changes” in the curriculum. They also mentioned that some of those changes had been implemented even before the students arrived to USC, in 2014. “I regret that several of our MFA students have stated they will leave the program over issues that were presented to us and that we considered to have been resolved, specifically having to do with financial aid and curriculum,” said Dean Erica Muhl. She also mentioned that the university offered funding that would cover up to 90 percent of their tuition costs and that they had respected the terms stated in the students’ offer letters.
Some prominent artists have graduated from this university. Among them, Paul McCarthy, multimedia artist Elad Lassry and installations artist Amanda Ros-Ho are the most important ones.
It yet remains to be seen what turns these protests will take in the future.
Image Source: CBSLA