UC Orders Study on Rejecting NEA Grants

Top officials of the nine-campus University of California system, acting quickly to address concerns about the National Endowment for the Arts controversy, have ordered a study “to consider whether and under what terms” to accept 1990 NEA grants.

The decision, disclosed Thursday, apparently resulted from a meeting of UC President David P. Gardner and the chancellors of the individual UC campuses on Wednesday. The move stemmed from a UCLA proposal that surfaced last week under which the campus sought UC approval to reject NEA support this year in protest of obscenity controls imposed on the agency by Congress. UCLA has received notification of two NEA grants worth $40,000 and has nine more requests, totaling more than $700,000, pending.

UCLA administrators proposed to Gardner that the entire UC system join in the mass rejection.

The UC administration, in a statement released Thursday morning, said Gardner and the campus chancellors had agreed that one policy would govern the entire UC system. The campus chancellors were directed to consult with their academic senates and, according to a UC statement, the question may also be presented to the UC Board of Regents.


Meanwhile, the administration statement said, UC campuses that choose to accept NEA funding pending a final decision by the university may notify the federal arts agency that they reserve “the right to challenge any attempt by NEA to censor or otherwise interfere with the free exercise of artistic expression.”

Neither Gardner nor UCLA Chancellor Charles E. Young was available to discuss the situation. In a press release, however, Young said, “We look forward to participating in the deliberations. We agree with the need for broad consultation on an issue of this significance before a university-wide policy is adopted.”