The Censor-y Project

The Seahawk Staff

It’s unfortunate that our coverage of The Century Project must focus on the issue of censorship, rather than the merit of project itself-its ability to educate, facilitate productive dialogue, perhaps even heal. After speaking with photographer Frank Cordelle and viewing the project for ourselves, we believe that the he is, above all else, an advocate for women. The project’s intent is to show women nude in ways that are not remotely sexual-a contrast to our culture’s mass media depiction of women as objectified and pornographic. The photographs on display are disarming and humanizing. They suggest, to females who may never have heard differently, that their bodies are beautiful despite imperfections.

As gatekeepers of Media, it is our responsibility to present readers with facts and opinions on either side of any issue. The Century Project is controversial but it deserves to be experienced as the artist intended. This is why we’ve decided to print a selection of photos that were banned from inclusion in the exhibit. These are photos that some will condemn as child pornography. Some will condemn them as indecent, damaging, perhaps even criminal. But what about the possibility that just one person will look at these pictures and find hope?

Our decision to publish these picture goes beyond a simple endorsement of The Century Project. We feel as though, for the first time ever, we are embarrassed to call ourselves Seahawks. The administration’s actions in censoring The Century Project are, as Cordelle said, a slap in the face to every student at UNCW. It is equitable to and just as offensive as if they had issued a mass email saying: We’ve decided not to let students have access to this full exhibit because we don’t think UNCW students are intelligent or mature enough to look at this material, form an opinion, and decide for themselves if it is offensive or not. Who will protect free speech in our society if not Universities-public Universities at that.

We have serious concerns about administrators at UNCW, like Provost Brian Chapman, who quickly and unhesitantly sacrificed our free access to information for the sake of appeasing a potential conservative backlash. We will now forever be known as the only University, out of more than sixty others, to ever have censored this exhibit. That is something that we all have to live with, as Seahawks. We are asking every student at this University to challenge information that is handed to them, whether from the government, UNCW administration or even professors. The cornerstone of a college education lies in experiences shared by students which take them out of their comfort zones and challenge their preconceived notions. Is this still true of UNCW?

We encourage all UNCW students, faculty, staff and the greater Wilmington community to view The Century Project, which will continue to be shown in the Warwick Center Ballroom through Friday, March 6.

To view photos omitted from the exhibit pick up a copy of The Seahawk.