The Department of Film and Electronic Arts believes that freedom of thought and expression are the cornerstones of our work as media artists and scholars.
Works of art exploring various aesthetic, social, economic, and political issues may be viewed by some as controversial and arouse passions among members of the audience. The creative process requires free and unfettered access to all levels of society so that artists' sensibilities may be finely tuned to issues, themes, and trends that they find most stimulating.
There can be no higher value than the free and open exploration and examination of ideas. No idea should be banned or forbidden.
The Department of Film and Electronic Arts appreciates the fact that in classroom settings student audiences have not chosen to see a particular work. In a very real sense they are a captive audience required to be present as a scholastic responsibility. Accordingly, just as faculty members are asked to respect the individual sensibilities of students by disclosing in advance when screened material may contain controversial or graphic elements, we ask student filmmakers to demonstrate the same reasonable respect for their audiences and peers by providing disclaimers regarding sexual activity, graphic violence, or other elements suitable only for mature audiences. Such disclaimers are, in fact, commonly utilized in the film, television, and audio recording industries.
First and foremost, a University is a place for learning. As such, the supervisory input of teachers should not be confused with censorship. The Department of Film and Electronic Arts offers many forums for personal expression, but it does so under the guidance of a faculty comprised of experienced educators and industry professionals. If a student elects to ignore faculty directives in the execution of assigned coursework, artistic freedom may be preserved but a course grade may suffer or the candidacy of a project for showcases and other public presentations may be circumscribed. Setting classroom standards for academic and craft excellence, as well as objective grading criteria, shall always remain the responsibility of the teacher.
As with assignments and grading, when discretionary funding is available to production classes, a student's right of artistic freedom should not be confused with the teacher's right to make funding distribution decisions on behalf of the Department. Setting the standards for such funding remains the responsibility of the teacher.