BYU To Discourage Use of R-rated Film Clips in Classes
PROVO, UTAH -- History students at BYU won't be viewing clips from
"Saving Private Ryan" and "Schindler's List" after a draft of a
formal recommendation was forwarded to President Merrill Bateman that
discourages the use of R-rated movies for teaching. The decision to
end the use of historically based movies that have inappropriate
language, violence or nudity could be made by May.
Discussion by professors and adminstrators began when the legal and
moral issues of using the films, that had been edited for content in
the class room, were the same ones that had an American Fork movie
theatre threatened with a lawsuit by Paramount cited for snipping
several scenes from the Academy Award winning movie, "Titanic."
BYU's Varsity Theatre closed from lack of interest after Sony
Pictures asked BYU to stop editing its films, according to
spokeswoman Carri P. Jenkins. "BYU complied and yanked the studio's
films from the coming-attraction list." "The University then sought
approval from Sony and other film companies to continue. We couldn't
get a formal agreement with them."
"It's not just to ban R-rated movies." "It's about what professors
should ask themselves before using such teaching tools as films,
DVD's and Web sites," said University spokeswoman Carri P. Jenkins.
"It's more of a philosophical document - of when, if and all of those
questions," she added.
K. Newell Dayley, dean of BYU's College of Fine Arts and
Communications said, "The lengthy process to gather input on the
visual-material proposal has been productive for the school, which in
the past has been criticized by national academic associations for
allegedly fostering an environment that discourages academic freedom."
The question remains if BYU, an institution of higher learning that
boasts noted scholars, researchers and visiting lecturers, really
need a policy? Dayley thinks it does. "Absolutely," he said. "The
process of discussion, a full and lively discussion about
philosophies, that's what is important."
Controversy has followed the arts at several Utah colleges. Traveling
exhibits such as "Rodin: Sculpture from the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor
Collection," recently opened at the University of Utah amid
controversy of "The Kiss," a sculpture of a nude man and woman
kissing that is one of the most famous in Rodin's works. For some it
was the most interesting exhibit, but to others it caused a storm of
controversy. In 1997, "The Kiss" was pulled from BYU's exhibit.
The Utah Museum of Art's curator of exhibitions, David Dee, thinks
that Rodin shouldn't be a controversial artist today. "As a museum,
our purpose is to educate and inspire and play an important role in
visual arts in Utah. It's certainly not to incite controversy," he
said. BYU will not issue outright bans or make public the final draft
until it is approved.
BYU may halt use of R-rated film clips
Deseret News 4Jan02 D3
By Jeffrey P. Haney: Deseret News staff writer
Proposal would discourage use of them in class
Rodin Back in Utah -- Uncensored
Mormon News 10Jun01 A3
By Kent Larsen
BYU's Varsity Theater Closes After Editing Disallowed
Mormon News 8Sep01 A3
By Rosemary Pollock