In early January 2018, Polk State College requested that all faculty members from its arts program submit artwork for an exhibition to be held the next month. Part-time faculty member Serhat Tanyolacar submitted his piece, “Death of Innocence,” which juxtaposed images of several well-known poets and writers with a number of graphic iterations of President Donald Trump and other political figures engaging in sexual activity. On February 6, Program Coordinator Nancy Lozell informed Tanyolacar that his submitted artwork would be “too controversial to display at this time” because high school students who take classes at Polk State’s campus might see it. FIRE and the National Coalition Against Censorship sent a letter on February 14 warning Polk State against restricting the display of artwork deemed “too controversial,” and asked the college to reassess Tanyolacar’s artwork in a viewpoint-neutral manner.
February 20, 2018
LAKELAND, Fla., Feb. 20, 2018 — Free expression on campus isn’t childproofed — except at Polk State College, where part-time faculty member Serhat Tanyolacar’s artwork was rejected from a faculty art exhibition for being “too controversial.” In early January, Polk State encouraged all faculty members in its arts program, including Tanyolacar, to submit artwork to a faculty exhibition scheduled to begin on Feb. 12. Tanyolacar submitted a piece titled “Death of Innocence,” which depicts several poets and writers juxtaposed with a number of pictures of President Donald Trump and other political figures engaging in sexual activity. Tanyolacar said the art […]» Read More