Credit: AFP/Getty Images
Midwestern State University has confirmed that officials are investigating a professor who allegedly forced students to create anti-gun posters in her graphic design course. Jennifer Yucas, an instructor at the college, purportedly had students make the designs for a personal, anti-gun campaign she's involved in.
Betty Stewart, provost and vice-president for academic affairs at Midwestern State, confirmed that Yucas is under investigation following a student complaint over the assignment. Last Thursday, Campus Reform reports that an official grievance against the assignment was filed with administrators; the next day an investigation launched.
Stewart called the allegations serious, but said that the professor will be able to continue teaching while the investigation unfolds. Currently, administrators are looking into what, exactly, happened based on the claims.
"It is a serious offense," the provost said. "My first step is to speak with students directly after reading the report that I received. Then I will speak with the professor."
Campus Reform has more about the complaint and the details of the alleged anti-gun assignment:
According to the complaint, obtained by Campus Reform, the professor compelled students in her graphic design class to create artwork opposing firearms on campus and opposing pro-gun legislation currently pending before the Texas state legislature.
The professor then used the artwork students created online to publicize an anti-gun petition entitled “MSU is anti-Concealed Carry on Campus” and on a now deleted Facebook page opposing firearms, says the complaint.
“On Monday, April 1, around 7 PM (class was 5:30 – 8:20), Jennifer Yucus, Assistant Professor of Graphic Art/Design, compelled students from her Computers For Artists class to advocate in favor of a political petition opposing firearms on campus, in opposition to a pair of bills currently before the Texas legislature, using personal art materials and MSU resources,” reads the complaint.
“Several of my classmates were uncomfortable with the assignment and either quietly or openly expressed this,” it continues. “Professor Yucus asked students to rationalize objections by thinking of it as a job from an employer (or words to that effect).”
In addition to these allegations, the grievance charges that Yucas required all of the students' works to include a URL to the petition. Pupils were also photographed making the graphic designs, allegedly in an effort to make it appear as though the anti-gun initiative had youth support.
In addition to being hung in the school's hallway, the photos were apparently also uploaded to an anti-gun Facebook page that was purportedly created by the professor. While Campus Reform notes that the page was purportedly deleted following the complaint, the group claims it captured copies of the photos.
Here is a screen shot showing some of the alleged images:
Photo Credit: Campus Reform
Yucas also has another charge against her -- that she used her university-affiliated e-mail address to forward her petition to students. Campus Reform claims that Texas law may actually prevent public professors from pushing students to embrace political perspectives. This, too, could prove problematic for the graphic design instructor.
For now, the school will continue exploring what, exactly, unfolded.
(H/T: Campus Reform)
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