Statement of Peter Salovey, Dean of Yale College

Let me clarify some issues related to the controversy surrounding the unusual senior project of Aliza Shvarts.

As the Dean of the School of Art, Robert Storr, wrote last week: “This is not an acceptable project in a community where the consequences go beyond the individual who initiates the project and may even endanger that individual.” I agree, as I stated: “This piece of performance art as reported in the press bears no relation to what I consider appropriate for an undergraduate senior project.”’

After investigation, Dean Storr and I have determined that there were serious errors of judgment on the part of two individuals. In one case, the instructor responsible for the senior project should not have allowed it to go forward. In the other, an adviser should have interceded and consulted others when first given information about the project. Appropriate action has been taken in these two cases.

In the normal course of events, Ms. Shvarts’s project would be installed at the School of Art for critique and discussion with a committee of faculty. In this case, we will not permit her to install the project unless she submits a clear and unambiguous written statement that her installation is a work of fiction: that she did not try to inseminate herself and induce miscarriages, and that no human blood will be physically displayed in her installation.

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