Should Christian Colleges and Universities Allow Nude Modeling in Art Classes?
This might seem like an odd question to some, perhaps many, of my readers. But those of you who are well-connected insiders to the American evangelical world will probably understand the problem.
Just to remind everyone, I taught in three evangelical Christian institutions of higher education (arts and sciences colleges and universities) over 36 years. I ran into this question and issue many times. It was and I assume still is a hot button issue in Christian colleges and universities that are members of The Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and the Consortium of Christian Colleges.
For many years most conservative Christian colleges and universities understandably did not allow students to draw or paint nude models. I say “understandably” given most American evangelicals’ beliefs about modesty and exposure of young people to pornography. Many just don’t see the difference between nude modeling and pornography.
A couple years ago, in a class on Christian ethics, we discussed this very specific issue and one student in particular became very vocal about it. She said that art students had to go to a local community college to get their required experience in drawing and/or painting nude models, required for graduate school if they wanted to pursue an MFA degree. She was quite incensed about the matter (viz., that the university did not allow nude modeling in art classes or public nudity anywhere on campus).
What I didn’t tell her is something I know from my many years of teaching in Christian colleges and universities and from knowing faculty members and administrators in other ones: that it is parents who send their students, especially females, to Christian colleges and universities PARTLY BECAUSE they do not allow nudity on campus (between persons of different sexes). And for other reasons having to do with traditional Christian morality.
So, instead of telling you what I think, I’m asking what you think about this issue? Should committed Christian colleges and universities allow undergraduates (especially) to draw or paint live nude models? If so, who should the live nude models be? Fellow students or paid models from off campus? Why? If not, why not? Please keep your responses brief and don’t just sound off; explain you opinion. My question is especially FOR conservative Christians, evangelicals in the broad sense, people who might send their students (children, church members, etc.) to a Christian college like Wheaton or …. Others may express an opinion, but, honestly, it won’t be taken as seriously. This is an issue faced almost exclusively by conservative Christian colleges and universities, their students, faculty members, administrators and constituents.
P.S. Please don’t say “Well, they are going to see nude images anyway…” The issue is whether Christian colleges and universities should participate in that. All that I know of have filters on their servers to exclude pornography.
*Note: If you choose to comment, keep your comment (or question) brief (no more than 100 words), on topic, addressed to me, civil and respectful (not hostile or argumentative), and devoid of pictures or links.*