Gainesville State College

Location: Gainesville, Georgia
Website:
Type: Public
Federal Circuit: 11th Circuit

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  • Gainesville State College: President Censors Faculty Art Critical of Confederate Heritage

    March 7, 2011

    Gainesville State College (GSC) unconstitutionally censored a painting critical of Confederate heritage by removing it from a faculty art exhibition. Art instructor and artist Stanley Bermudez’ painting “Heritage?” features images of a lynching and of a torch-wielding member of the Ku Klux Klan superimposed onto a Confederate flag. Two weeks into the exhibition, when critics of the painting contacted GSC President Martha T. Nesbitt, she removed it, claiming that “I have to consider the impact of an action on the health and reputation of the institution. In this instance, I made a judgment call that the negative results would outweigh the positive ones.” FIRE has asked […]

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  • New Chancellor of Georgia System Must Prioritize Free Speech

    August 23, 2011

    Throughout much of the year, FIRE has been fighting for the free speech rights of art instructor Stanley Bermudez at Gainesville State College (GSC) in Georgia. Bermudez, in case Torch readers have forgotten, painted a provocative painting titled “Heritage?” for display at a GSC faculty art exhibition. The painting criticized the heritage of the Confederate flag by superimposing images of lynchings and Ku Klux Klan members on its background. However, when critics of the painting complained to GSC President Martha Nesbitt about the painting’s content, she unilaterally removed it from the exhibition, leaving only Bermudez’s personal statement about his relationship with […]

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  • Gainesville State College Remains Unaccountable for Censorship of Faculty Artwork

    April 15, 2011

    Gainesville State College (GSC) in Georgia is defending its censorship of a faculty member’s painting involving the Confederate flag. FIRE has come to the defense of art instructor Stanley Bermudez, whose painting portraying the Confederate flag in a critical context was removed by administrators from a faculty art exhibition. Disappointingly, GSC has so far not seen fit to respond to FIRE’s concerns and affirm the First Amendment rights of its students and faculty. Hopefully it will reverse course—and soon. As we discussed in our March 8 Torch post, Bermudez’s painting, titled “Heritage?”, was featured as part of GSC’s 2011 Faculty Biennial Exhibition. […]

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  • Gainesville State College Censors Faculty Artwork Critical of Confederate Past

    April 14, 2011

    GAINESVILLE, Ga., April 14, 2011—Gainesville State College (GSC) in Georgia is defending its censorship of a faculty member’s painting involving the Confederate flag. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has come to the defense of art instructor Stanley Bermudez, whose painting portraying the Confederate flag in a critical context was removed by administrators from a faculty art exhibition. “It’s hard to think of a more fundamental lesson in the First Amendment than this one, which makes it all the more disappointing that Gainesville State has failed it so dramatically,” said Adam Kissel, Vice President of Programs at FIRE. […]

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  • Dearth of Critical Thinking on Display as NKU Library Removes Anti-Klan Artwork

    April 1, 2011

    A recent article in The Northerner, of Northern Kentucky University (NKU), reports that an art display has been moved from its place in an NKU library after administrators received complaints over its depiction of a member of the Ku Klux Klan. More specifically, the work is an award-winning triptych of images by NKU professor Hanz Schellhas titled “First Class, Second Class,” which the professor created during his days as a student at NKU as a critique of modern race relations. An NKU website describes the motivation and methodology of the piece: Based on his own experience working for social justice in Cincinnati, […]

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  • Gainesville State College President Censors Faculty Art Critical of Confederate Heritage

    March 8, 2011

    After the president of Gainesville State College (GSC) removed a professor’s painting from a faculty exhibition, FIRE is asking Gainesville State College to fulfill its moral and legal obligations to uphold free speech and academic freedom on campus. Art instructor Stanley Bermudez’s painting “Heritage?” portrays the Confederate flag in a critical context, which has prompted some complaints from outside the college. Bermudez’s painting was featured as part of GSC’s 2011 Faculty Biennial Exhibition. It depicts torch-wielding members of the Ku Klux Klan and a lynching superimposed onto a Confederate flag. Venezuelan by birth, Bermudez provided a personal statement to be displayed with the […]

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  • Letter to Gainesville State College President Martha T. Nesbitt, March 7, 2011

    March 7, 2011

    March 7, 2011 Martha T. Nesbitt, President Gainesville State College 3820 Mundy Mill Rd P.O. Box 1358 Gainesville, Georgia 30503 Sent via U.S. Mail and Facsimile (678-717-3830) Dear President Nesbitt: The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) unites leaders in the fields of civil rights and civil liberties, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals from across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of liberty, legal equality, academic freedom, due process, freedom of speech, and freedom of conscience on America’s college campuses. Our website, thefire.org, will give you a greater sense of our identity and activities. FIRE is concerned about […]

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