ASPB criticized over ‘offensive’ fun house legs

Courtesy of Jason Ducut
Courtesy of Jason Ducut

A pair of artificial legs at the Adult Swim inflatable fun house, set up at UCR last week, was removed after university officials received complaints that the displayed limbs were “offensive.” Organized by ASPB, the fun house featured a maze that led to three exits, one of which allowed students to crawl through a narrow exit hole and emerge through a giant pair of inflatable women’s legs hovering over a hospital bed — coined the “public birth” by Adult Swim.

In a letter addressed to ASPB, Assistant Professor of Sociology Tanya Nieri said the set piece sends a “discriminatory message” about the value of female bodies to the UCR community. She went on to call for more inclusiveness and respect for members of the community.

Sharing similar concerns to Nieri, UCR postdoctoral scholar Julie Ann Ward stated, “… the use of two legs and a hole to stand in for the concept of ‘female’ reduces women to a most basic function and literally deletes anything that might happen above the waist, like learning, discovery, communication, or problem-solving, to name only a few.”

In an interview with the Highlander, ASPB Chairperson Edozie Onumonu explained that the inflatable legs came as a surprise to their organization as well. As Onumonu put it, Adult Swim and the creative team behind the fun house provided a blueprint of the maze which did not include the inflatable legs.

According to Onumonu, the legs were originally left intact after it was revealed that the blueprint design differed from the actual fun house setup. After concerns were raised, however, the legs were taken down.

“We are aware that we serve this campus with folks with different ideas,” he said about the incident. “We do apologize if the safe space of the university was compromised … We definitely (had) no intention to offend any folks with the fun house.”

Onumonu went on to add: “We definitely hear the folks, their criticism and understand where it’s coming from. But it’s hard for me to say we regret the whole thing, being that a lot of students enjoyed the event. Thinking globally, we want to make sure we do a good job of fostering a positive relationship with the UCR communities.”

Some members of the UCR community also criticized ASPB for allowing the legs to be displayed and are calling for greater non-student oversight for the student-run programming entity of over 25 years.

The complaints were also brought up to Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jim Sandoval, who apologized to those offended. The concerns also prompted Sandoval to schedule a meeting with concerned members of the community, ASPB leaders and Student Affairs on Friday, March 7 to further discuss the matter and find ways to avoid these kinds of incidents in the future.

 

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