Thank you, Ms. Spewock, for your response (comment #10 posted with original article below) to the article “Coercion at a CIDA College”, clarifying that the Art Institute of Pittsburgh has not taken a position to support the latest proposed practice act in Pennsylvania and your commitment to informing students how to research so that they will be equipped to make informed decisions about important issues impacting their futures. On that we agree.
However, it is clear that Ms. Musulin went far beyond inviting students to research this issue, and clearly did not adhere to your policy that “all extra-credit options are presented with equal consideration.” Her extra credit assignment (click on this link to read: http://www.idpcinfo.org/AIP_Extra_Credit.pdf ) only offers the 20 additional points to those students who undertake lobbying in support of legislation. In fact, the assignment is actually entitled “IDLCPA SUPPORT.” (emphasis added). Nowhere on this assignment is there an opportunity to “research and evaluate opposing views” and according to the student in question, when Ms. Musulin was approached and asked for that opportunity, it was denied. It is absolutely unethical to use this kind of intimidation and heavy-handed influence to push her personal political agenda!
I understand that subsequent to the publishing of our article, the concerned student has received an assignment to receive extra credit points. Kindly provide the nature of the assignment, and whether or not the rest of the class also received an “equal opportunity” to do this assignment. If this assignment was given only to the concerned student in a surreptitious manner, it would certainly give the appearance of impropriety – that of bribing his silence, which I’m sure you would not condone. Unfortunately, under-the-radar techniques are the hallmark of the pro-regulation camp, and as the overseer of vulnerable students, you would obviously want to shield them from such tactics.
In addition, it is one thing for impressionable students to hear the facts about licensing (provided both sides are presented); it is totally another thing for them to be force-fed baseless propaganda. The introductory section on the assignment in question contains the following inappropriate and blatantly false statements:
- The bill now has a number and needs to move quickly through the House. It is inappropriate to imply to students that a fair legislative procedure involves “shoving” a bill through the process. Declaring it has to “move quickly” implies a deceptive practice whereby the other side will not have equal access to a fair hearing or due process. Is that how we want our students to be first introduced to the legislature? I think not.
- Only a registered design professional” may implement the IBC code. This statement is absolutely false. Again, students should hear the facts, not counterfeit propaganda. Since Ms. Musulin is a board member of IDLCPA, she should certainly be aware that IDPC has written extensively on this issue, providing the actual language of the IBC, which contradicts Ms. Musulin’s and IDLCPA’s statements. If Ms. Musulin wishes to cling to false information, that is her right, but allowing misinformation to be presented as fact certainly does not “present students with a clear understanding of the issue” in compliance with AIP’s mission. Click here for accurate information about the IBC: http://archive.constantcontact.com/fs060/1102107213116/archive/1102303468639.html
Diametrically opposed to your statement of AIP’s position, Ms. Musulin DOES “wish to influence its students toward a particular “side” of the issue.” Manipulating her students and using them as pawns to accomplish her political objective is shameful and the national design community is outraged. This information was sent out to approximately 30,000 designers throughout the country, which after the pass-through might well have exceeded 100,000 designers. I’ve already received numerous emails from across the country about this situation and the AIP. This is a serious matter, Ms. Spewock, that needs to be addressed head-on, and not with glossy platitudes about freedom of thought which don’t comport to the facts. Ms. Musulin should be held accountable for her actions.
We appreciate your commitment to provide an excellent and fair learning environment at AIP and look forward to hearing that (1) this important issue has been resolved, and (2) it will not recur in the future.
If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact me. I would welcome the opportunity to have a dialogue on this issue.
Executive Director, IDPC