Polk State College Accused of Censoring Art Instructor's Anti-Trump Work

February 21, 2018

The Foundation for Individual Rights is challenging Polk State College’s alleged censorship of an art instructor’s anti-Trump work. In a statement Tuesday, FIRE accused the Florida college of rejecting Serhat Tanyolacar’s submission to a faculty art exhibit in an attempt to “childproof” the campus. Tanyolacar’s piece, called “Death of Innocence,” depicts poets, writers, President Trump and other political figures engaging in sexual activity. Tanyolacar said the art is intended to highlight “moral corruption and moral dichotomy” and provoke debate, but Polk State informed him it could not be displayed because the campus offers classes to local high school students and “we feel that that particular piece would be too controversial to display at this time.”

FIRE and the National Coalition Against Censorship wrote to Polk State president Angela Garcia Falconetti last week, asking her to reconsider the college's decision. A spokesperson for Polk State said it had no comment. Tanyolacar was involved in another censorship debate over his art at the University of Iowa in 2014, when he was a visiting assistant professor there.

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