Close to Me (To Angelique), Instillation, 2018
This is the second time I have used the faculty show to draw awareness to censorship that occurs here at UVU. This second and most current installation is, sadly, much more personal than the first as it involves a student of mine.
This most recent censorship involved the cover for the university publication, Touchstones, which is a periodical dedicated to literature and visual art. The periodical is a great venue for exhibiting the talent we have here at the University. For its current issue, the editorial staff selected my student’s artwork for the cover of the publication.
This powerful image garnered awards last year at the Woodbury Student Show and is a very good representation of what our students are capable of.
Shortly before the official publication of the periodical, my student was informed that her work was no longer going to be used for the cover. After speaking with me about it, I looked into the reasons behind the changes to the cover and was surprised by what I discovered.
I learned that several editors threatened to leave over the use of my students image on the cover. They were upset by what they felt were the image’s illusion to lesbian, sexual desire.
It was also assumed that the use of photography as a medium was deemed offensive as well.
These words printed on this board and presented in the gallery are a quotation from the correspondence between my student and the editorial team. Quote: “the potential ramifications to the future efforts of staff prevented us from pushing the envelope.” My purpose for including this in the faculty show was for those present who included faculty, staff, as well as the universities president to take the situation personally. This instance of censorship says a great deal about UVU and its complicated relationship with the predominant ideologies of the community it is within. We are UVU not BYU – censorship of something as benign as this cover is more in line with a religiously run institution, not a state-funded, liberal arts University.
Censorship is a bleak indication of the future and is not indicative of what this University can and should become. UVU has the potential to be an institution of higher-education where its students are inclusive, broad-minded, free-thinkers; and this art installation calls upon students and faculty to be proactive in fostering these ideals. We must be leery of and sensitive to censorship, as censorship hinders growth and true knowledge.
I appreciate the student who came to me and shed light on this instance. This piece doesn’t rectify or excuse, but it does raise a voice. I only hope that this, in some way, makes it so others are not found in a similarly unacceptable situation in the future.
Touchstones, Vol 21, Spring 2018, Photograph by Angelique Strachan entitled Arch can be found on page 35. 
Based on conversations with students and faculty at the university.