The University of California San Diego (UCSD) has gotten much press recently when it was revealed by an irate mother that her daughter, a student at the college, would be required to take her final exam in her birthday suit.
Well, let me clarify. According to a CNN interview, the course in question calls for students to act out "gestures" in class. One particular assignment called the "Erotic Self," requires nude participation in a dim, candle lit classroom (let that sink in for a minute). Twenty somethings + college life + naked bodies = well, you can do the math on that. Once upon a time, I was a college kid and would be willing to bet my class ring and coveted student parking pass that someone in that class will be aroused by what is seen. The University has since gone on the record saying there is no requirement to perform nude to pass the course.
How has all this come to light? It turns out it wasn't a student who complained, but rather her "helicopter mom" has lead this charge of indecency.
Copter mom critics have emphasized that her daughter was made aware of the nude testing requirement at the start of class and most likely would have also heard hushed whispers of this performance art standard from college campus lore. But, even if she knew, or should have known, that doesn't negate her right to change her mind and exercise her personal choice to say "no."
When your fresh off age 18 and even into your early 20's you've often been conditioned to go with the status quo and move right along with the group, even if the group is marching off the proverbial cliff. We need more young people who are willing to speak up for injustice, disparity, and unfair treatment. As parents (and people who've experienced adulthood for more than two seconds) we have an obligation to encourage our kids to stand up for what they believe in, even if its unpopular, so that they don't develop a dangerous pattern of acquiescing to situations and events that continuously compromise their values and beliefs.
So, to the young woman who finds herself in this moral dilemma of shall I or shall I not, I say unto you, "just don't." If your grade is impacted - all will be well. You'll find that in life you will experience many more situations that will require you to abstain, even at the risk of some negative consequence.
To the professor who has taught this course for a decade, please find another way for your students to demonstrate their academic effort with their clothes on. I'm just sayin'.
And finally, to helicopter mom, kudos to you for advocating for your daughter because even when they get to college, they still need our help; however, just try to increase your altitude a bit more and hover at an acceptable height that still allows your daughter to grow, develop, and experience life on her own.
Dana Brown Smith is the author of Girls Watch Too! Female Fascination with Pornography: Why You Should Care and What You Can Do About It.
This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.