Ricardo Dominguez and the Question of Academic Freedom at UCSD

Ricardo Dominguez addressing his supporters at UC San Diego Library Walk, on April 8, 2010

On March 4, 2010, Ricardo Dominguez and other members of Bang Lab participated in the student protests which took place across University of California campuses. The protests were organized to express students’ and faculty’s disagreement with the ongoing fee hikes, budget cuts, and the apparent privatization of the UC system. Dominguez and his collaborators organized a virtual sit-in on the Office of the President website, which was interpreted by school officials as a “Denial of service attack.”

Since March 4, Dominguez has been under investigation not only for the virtual sit-in, but also his research on a mobile phone tool designed to provide GPS information on the location of water, and nearby shelters and immigration centers for people crossing the U.S./ Mexico border. The University of California is considering revoking Dominguez’s tenure, which he received in 2009 after the review of the very same actions and research for which he is now being investigated.

Dominguez is considered one of the most influential artists in the field of new media, and his current situation is important to note because it is a testing ground for the future expression of the arts at large.

What follows is a list of newspaper articles and online resources that provide a better sense of the developments behind Ricardo Dominguez’s investigation. The first two links are videos uploaded to Youtube of a rally which took place on April 8, 2010 before and during Dominguez’s first meeting with school officials to discuss the allegations.

Ricardo Dominguez, UCSD Library Walk, April 8, 2010

Ricardo Dominguez, UCSD Mandeville, April 8, 2010

‘Activist’ UCSD professor facing unusual scrutiny
Tuesday, April 6, 2010 at 9:27 p.m.
UCSD professor Ricardo Dominguez is facing unusual scrutiny from campus police and auditors for his involvement in two divisive projects — one that helps migrants find water stored along the border and another that disrupted the UC president’s Web site through a virtual sit-in.

UCSD prof turns meeting into protest rally
Friday, April 9, 2010 at 1:01 a.m.
LA JOLLA — An activist arts professor at UC San Diego who is facing scrutiny from campus police and administrators ?for his ?work in civil disobedience turned a meeting with university officials yesterday into a two-hour exercise in nonviolent protest.

Academic freedom must prevail / But potential criminal conduct deserves investigation
By Union-Tribune Editorial Board,
Saturday, April 10, 2010 at 12:04 a.m.
In at least one sense, UCSD professor Ricardo Dominguez is good at his job.

The professor describes himself as an activist and new-media artist. Well, activists and artists want and need to be noticed. With two recent undertakings – a proposed GPS-tool to help illegal immigrants navigate the border and find water stations and a virtual sit-in that disrupted the UC president’s Web site – Dominguez has gotten himself noticed. So much so that campus police and auditors are looking into his activities with an eye toward revoking his tenure.

Help Ricardo Domínguez!

Stop the De-tenuring of Ricardo Dominguez
Posted by Holly Eskew on April 9, 2010
Ricardo Dominguez (Associate Professor, Visual Arts, UCSD) is currently being threatened with criminal action and the revocation of his tenure by UCOP and several UCSD senior administrators. This is a long, rapidly-developing story. Time is of the essence; Ricardo meets with our SVC on the morning of Thursday, April 7.

‘Virtual sit-in’ tests line between DDoS and free speech

Stop the De-tenuring of Ricardo Dominguez
A University of California professor who organized a “virtual sit-in” that targeted the university president’s website has been told he may face criminal charges for mounting a distributed denial of service attack.

Ricardo Dominguez
Posted on 12 April 2010
Visual-arts professor Ricardo Dominguez is in a tight spot. His tenure at UCSD is currently in jeopardy, because — ironically — he was living up to his reasons for hire.
Visual-arts professor Ricardo Dominguez is in a tight spot. His tenure at UCSD is currently in jeopardy, because — ironically — he was living up to his reasons for hire.

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