- “Aesthetics in Context: The Artistic Impulse” is taught by Prof. Stephan Brigidi, and is a core class.
- “Afraid of the Dark: A Venetian Story,” written by Brigidi, serves as the course’s textbook.
- The textbook contains explicit descriptions of sexual encounters.
Students enrolled in a mandatory course at Roger Williams University are required to read an art professor’s novel that graphically depicts a variety of “unusual” sexual encounters.
Stephan Brigidi, an adjunct professor of Aesthetics, teaches Core 105 (“Aesthetics in Context: The Artistic Impulse”), the textbook for which is his novel Afraid of the Dark: A Venetian Story.
On his personal website, Brigidi describes the book as a compilation of stories and photographs assembled from numerous trips to Venice over the course of four decades, saying, “it is a book that explores the mystery that is uniquely Venice, supported by a series of stories speaking of some unusual encounters.”
According to several students in the class—who spoke to Campus Reform on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution—the “unusual” material in the book includes crude drawings of naked women and explicit descriptions of sexual encounters, including one in which the narrator acts as a “sexual toy” for a woman named Paulette.
“I get that Roger Williams is a private school and we choose to go here, but my parents were outraged when they heard what was going on,” one of the students told Campus Reform. “It’s not like this is a class we can choose not to take; as a core class we have to take it so we can graduate. I shouldn’t have to be exposed to such disgusting material for a grade.”
“I don’t even see the relevancy to what we are studying,” added another student. “This isn’t art, it’s just wrong.”
[WARNING: The following excerpt of the textbook is sexually graphic]
Excerpts from the novel sent to Campus Reform show graphic and extensively detailed recountings of sexual encounters punctuated by sketches of nude women.
Nor is a predilection for rhapsodizing about unusual sexual encounters the professor’s only eccentricity, the students said, pointing out that he also has a reputation for disparaging capitalism and free enterprise.
“I dare say that greed, in the name of the American capitalist, free-enterprise system is the root of all problems in this country,” Brigidi wrote in a 2014 op-ed in The Providence Journal. “I fear our business schools continue to preach the attainment of boundless wealth, lacking any sense of ethics or concern for the fallout.”
Brigidi acknowledges that his arguments “reek of socialist leanings,” but does not retreat from the fact. He even goes so far as to applaud a proposal by RWU President Donald Farish that wealthy universities like Harvard should set aside up to $1 billion per year to assist less-wealthy schools, suggesting such generosity would be painless for the benefactors because they have so much money already.
Campus Reform contacted Brigidi for reactions to the students’ complaints, but he declined to comment on the matter to an outside organization.
Re-posted from: http://unl.campusreform.org/?ID=7398; Co-authored by: Peter Fricke.