A few months after the sole student at the USC Roski School of Art and Design’s MFA program dropped out, calling the entire academic enterprise “a sham” and walking away from free tuition, the Los Angeles art school announced that it has made what it calls “transformative” hires to the faculty. The artists Suzanne Lacy, Edgar Arceneaux, Keith Mayerson, Kori Newkirk, and Patty Chang will all join the ranks beginning this fall.
“Leveraging our enviable position in a major comprehensive university, the only major research university that boasts six independent art schools as well as schools of social work, public policy and the College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, has been a strategic goal since 2013,” USC Roski dean Erica Muhl said in a press release. “We are steadfast in preparing our students to thrive in a more complex art world.”
The news comes after more than a year of defections and protests by students in the program, who argued that USC Roski was woefully lacking in funding and curricular rigor. In July of 2015, after the seven members of the class of 2016 all dropped out in protest, the former students posted a letter to Change.org demanding Muhl’s resignation, and was supported in their cause by at least 780 co-signers, who included artists Catherine Opie, Nicole Eisenman, and Martha Rosler.
An article in the Los Angeles Times in June mentioned that eight students will make up the incoming class in the fall semester.