A UC San Diego professor is reportedly requiring his students to take their final exam nude. Associate Professor Ricardo Dominguez has taught his Visual Arts 104A: Performing the Self class for 11 years and for the first time he’s catching some static for having the final test in the class involve nudity.
Apparently there are a few different reports on just how “required” the nudity is. Dominguez is basically saying: Yeah, I told them at the beginning of the semester that they gotta be full nude to express themselves or whatever. But after receiving a complaint from a student’s parent, the university brass have issued a statement basically saying: Well, not full nude. It’s up for interpretation. Etc.
A few other specifics about the final exam include:
-The class is described as focusing on the history of body art and performance art in relation to the question of the self or subjectivity.
-The final is described as a “performance of self”
-The final is taken in a dark room lit only by candles
-All the students and the teacher get nude and do their final performances for each other
-The class is not required for graduation
Now, you might be thinking it’s creepy or maybe even pervy to have a professor require his students to take a test naked with him in a candle-lit room, so I sat down with Professor Dominguez to talk about the practical benefits of naked test taking.
So Professor Dominguez, you believe in students taking their tests in the nude?
Full-on nude, yes. I find that a room full of completely naked students takes tests better than when they are wearing all those flashy new clothes that young people tend to wear these days.
What is the benefit of students taking tests nude?
Well, a few things. For one, the students never fall asleep because the desk seats get very cold overnight. It’s a nice shock to the system having your bare cheeks hit cold steel just before an early morning class. Second of all, there’s nowhere for them to hide cheat sheets. Unless they were to stick a cheat sheet up their butt crack, which happens way less than the media might make you think it does, there’s nowhere for a student to hide their cheat sheets. And third, the clothes that young people wear today are ridiculous, especially the sayings on some of these T-shirts they wear.
Why do you, the teacher, spend the test time nude?
Mainly to prevent it from being weird. I tend to wear appropriate, conservative clothes that aren’t all up-in-the-face of everyone who has to look at me, so me being nude is mainly just for the students to feel like they’re in a safe space. You know how when you go skinny dipping and one of the group keeps their underwear on and everyone else is looking at each other and being all like, “Come on, get on our level or else it’s less fun for everyone!”? I don’t want anyone to be feeling like that.
I don’t mean to sound presumptuous, but it sounds like your nude test taking policy might be due to you just not liking the way young people dress.
No, no, the reason I have students take tests nude is because of time-tested pedagogical research. But also because clothes these days have rude sayings on the front. I had a student come in with a shirt on the other day and the shirt said, “Please Cancel My Subscription To Your Issues.” Here, I have a picture:
That’s so rude. And there’s no room for it in my classroom, it’s distracting, so I make all the students take tests nude.
What about the days that the students don’t have a test in your class?
I actually make sure there is a test every day so that none of the students have a chance to bring in one of those rude T-shirts. The last time I allowed anyone to wear clothes in my class, a student came in wearing this shirt:
That was the final straw. I mean, if you’re trying to get a degree in college you SHOULD give a damn.
Do you plan to stop the nude test taking because of all the negative publicity you’re getting?
Never. Not until young people stop wearing T-shirts with cheeky, uncivil sayings on them, and judging by how popular these shirts are, that won’t be anytime soon. Here’s another example of what students used to wear to my class:
How can students be expected to focus on a test if they are reminded that it would be better to be sleeping right now?!