Scholarship News

College Decides to Keep Class on Famous Controversial Director


February 27, 2018 3:13 PM
by Susan Dutca-Lovell
A student-led initiative to remove a course on the filmmaker Woody Allen was rejected by the UC San Diego Academic Senate. Despite gaining over 22,000 signatures in protest over the allegations that Allen sexually abused his daughter Dylan Farrow and concerns about his treatment of women and girls in art and in life, the Senate supports the right to the continued teaching of this course now and in the future.

A student-led initiative to remove a course on the filmmaker Woody Allen was rejected by the UC San Diego Academic Senate. Despite gaining over 22,000 signatures in protest over the allegations that Allen sexually abused his daughter Dylan Farrow and concerns about his treatment of women and girls in art and in life, the Senate "supports the right to the continued teaching of this course now and in the future."

Savanah Lyon, a theater major at the university who organized the petition to stop offering the course was "disappointed but not surprised" that the Senate "sided with the university and the protection of 'academic freedom.'" Lyon challenged the "idea that academic freedom is a legitimate defense for teaching Allen's work." Allen has denied his daughter's allegations against him and the 'decades-old criminal inquiry into the matter resulted in no charges." Farrow still continues to allege that he molested her when she was 7 years old.

Critics have also scrutinized Allen for his "portrayal of relationships between minors and adults on film" and his "vivid obsession with young women and girls." Allen is not the first artist "associated with an obsession with young girls or women..." On the other hand, others feel as though "censoring a course on Woody Allen simply eliminates an opportunity for thoughtful, fact-based discussion about him and his work."

In a statement made by the American Association of University Professors, they "conclude that canceling or removing this or any other course for the reason that it contains the study of controversial material, or even material widely regarded as morally problematic, would undermine both the value of free inquiry and the associated rights of faculty to engage in such inquiry by choosing their course content." In your opinion, should the university continue to offer the course? Why or why not?

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Joyce Kinney  on  2/28/2018 8:22:56 AM commented:

I don’t see what the big deal is... molestation and other issues like that are huge and by seeing how he treats women in his artwork can probably help others learn what NOT to do. If a student went and said they shouldn’t teach about Hitler because of his treatment towards homosexuals and Jews would we still say the school is evil and corrupt? History is history and should be taught regardless of how some chick feels...

Joyce Kinney  on  2/28/2018 8:22:54 AM commented:

I don’t see what the big deal is... molestation and other issues like that are huge and by seeing how he treats women in his artwork can probably help others learn what NOT to do. If a student went and said they shouldn’t teach about Hitler because of his treatment towards homosexuals and Jews would we still say the school is evil and corrupt? History is history and should be taught regardless of how some chick feels...

Kevin Scott  on  2/27/2018 6:13:07 PM commented:

It's all about $$$$ with colleges, they are no better/ worse than corporate America.

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