Sunday, May 07, 2006

Brooklyn College students protest shut down of exhibit (AP)

Copyright 2006 Associated Press
All Rights Reserved
The Associated Press State & Local Wire

May 7, 2006 Sunday 11:53 PM GMT

SECTION: STATE AND REGIONAL

LENGTH: 306 words

HEADLINE: Brooklyn College students protest shut down of exhibit

DATELINE: NEW YORK

BODY:

A group of Brooklyn College Master of Fine Arts students demanded an exhibit of their work be reopened after city park officials shut it down.

The students say parks officials violated their First Amendment rights Thursday when they closed the Brooklyn College MFA Thesis exhibition at the Brooklyn War Memorial.

Over the weekend dozens of students protested outside the memorial's locked doors.

The building near the Brooklyn Bridge is city-owned. City officials closed the show after receiving complaints about the exhibit that's called "Plan B."

The exhibit contained watercolors depicting gay sex and sculpted male genitalia illuminated in a box. Another work featured a white pet rat.

The city Parks Department said an agreement with the college stipulated that art exhibits at the memorial be "appropriate for families."

In a statement released Sunday, the students said: "Government should not be in a position to make decisions about what constitutes appropriate content in art."

The students also said they never had an agreement with park officials and any such contract would be "unconstitutional."

"We were never made aware of any agreement between the NYC Parks Department and the Brooklyn College Administration regarding any restrictions on the nature of the content shown in student exhibitions in the space," according to the statement.

The students want the show reopened with a disclaimer to the public posted outside the memorial building or moved to a comparable venue.

Last week, the college's provost said the show would be moved to the campus, a move the art students oppose.

The students plan to meet Monday with Brooklyn College officials to discuss the matter, according to the statement.

The student show, a graduation requirement, is the thesis for the MFA degree.

The exhibition had been scheduled to run through May 25.

LOAD-DATE: May 7, 2006

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