No Design Legislation

Opposing interior design legislation everywhere

AIP Officials Sweep Student Coercion Under the Rug

The battle over AIPs coercive assignment to lobby legislators in support of Pennsylvania HB 1521 heats up, fueled by public outrage and president George Pry and interior design department chair Kelly Spewock’s assertions that no coercion was used.

Both administrators continue to claim that students were given equal opportunity to oppose legislation and to earn equal credit for that, despite confirmations from several students who personally objected to the assignment, and the opposition movement’s receipt of a copy of the actual assignment, confirming the original allegations of instructor Laura Musulin’s clearly stated attempt to force students to support her own political agenda.

AIP claims the Institute has no official policy on the legislation, but they are clearly not ensuring that this policy is adhered to by the faculty, if it is indeed the case, and have not said they’ve done anything to correct the situation. Instead, they now state that they consider the matter closed.

This type of behavior is a serious compromise of academic integrity, regardless of the political position being promoted, and seriously calls into question whether or not such coercion may be being used with students in other disciplines, and in other institutions.

Clearly, AICAD (the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design), which is one of the most important national accrediting bodies for institutions of higher learning specializing in the arts agrees, as president Bill Barrett weighs in with his response to IDPC postings.

Could AIP lose its accreditation if they continue to show signs of supporting this kind of outrageous behavior? I would suggest that perhaps they should.

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From IDPC:

Interior Design Protection Council

AIP officials sweep interior design coercion under the [designer] rug.

In a letter responding to multiple requests from IDPC requesting action on an inappropriate assignment, the Art Institute of Pittsburgh has indicated that they consider the matter resolved and are not open to further discussion.

We disagree. Click here to read press release and IDPC letters to AIP.

sweep

June 23, 2009 Posted by | Pennsylvania, Students | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CIDA College Coerces Student Support of Legislation

We recently became aware of a situation at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (PA) in which instructor Lauren Musulin offered an extra credit assignment to students in her Revit class if they lobbied legislators in PA in support of passage of proposed legislation HB 1521 – with extra points for getting two other people to also write letters supporting the bill as well – an assignment entitled “IDLCPA Support –  http://www.idpcinfo.org/AIP_Extra_Credit.pdf

This same opportunity was not offered to students who oppose such legislation.  In fact, when a student who opposes legislation objected, she was not given an alternative opportunity to earn the same extra credit by another means.  When the student in question approached the instructor and requested an opportunity to “research and evaluate opposing views”, the instructor flat out denied her request.

This was nothing but a blatant, all-out effort on the part of one instructor to intimidate students into supporting her own political agenda, and to coerce her students into supporting her own legislative views, not to teach involvement in the legislative process.

When the Interior Design Protection Council published this information, department chair Kelly Spewock responded, alleging that “Ms. Musulin’s students had the opportunity to research and evaluate opposing views to this topic, among other projects that were not made available to you or your readers”, and claiming that the Institute does not take a particular position with respect to legislation.  Spewock claims that other extra credit opportunities were offered to students who did not want to support legislation, but has yet to specify what they were.  The specific assignment, to which the link above points, makes it very clear that no alternative option was, in fact, offered, as does the fact that the student who objected was denied other options.

It is an absolute disgrace that an academic institution should in any way attempt to coerce students into supporting any particular legislative position and make it part of their grade, and it should not take publishing the information on a nationally-distributed mailing list or blog to bring the situation to people’s attention to compel that faculty member to offer students other options.

To teach involvement in the legislative process by encouraging students to research the issues, formulate their own opinions, and to write to legislators in support of whatever their own conclusions lead them to support would be an entirely legitimate assignment – but not demanding that they support only the instructor’s own point of view or face loss of extra credit points.

What’s more, the assignment makes several completely false statements, including alleging that “only a registered design professional” may implement the IBC code provisions.  This is out and out untrue, as anyone who can read can verify for themselves on page 41 of the code.  This lie has been repeatedly promulgated all over the country, and is just as repeatedly refuted every time it rears its head, yet the cartel lumbers on, repeating it endlessly, as if so doing will actually make it true.

The assignment also implies to students that a “fair” legislative procedure involves ramming a bill through the process, and by claiming that it must “move quickly”, implies that there may be some deceptive practices involved that may deny the other side a fair hearing.

One could argue that such instruction isn’t even the point of a class in using a software program, too, which makes this all the more bizarre, because the assignment doesn’t even relate to the topic of the class!

Sadly, this is just one more example of the kind of underhanded tactics to which the pro-legislation cartel will stoop in order to promote their point of view.

June 16, 2009 Posted by | Interior Design Protection Council (IDPC), Pennsylvania | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments