Death Penalty Forum Slightly Skews Students

College students in California will study the death penalty but only after having their minds tainted.

The University of California at Davis will hold a "Forum on Capital Punishment" this spring quarter, according to school’s website.

The event will feature public lectures by those who advocate and oppose the death penalty.

While this idea of an open debate and discussion on capital punishment sounds encouraging, students will instead have their perceptions slightly skewed before their study even begins.

According to a school press release, the class starts by students attending an art exhibition put on by one of the event organizers — Professor Malaquias Montoya. The professor’s exhibit is titled "Premeditated: Meditations on Capital Punishment" and contains prints, drawings and paintings calling for the abolition of the death penalty. According to the exhibit’s description, by "using hard-hitting imagery that only partially abstracts depictions of executions, [Professor] Montoya confronts the viewer with his view of the brutality of such a practice."

Moreover, "as part of the exhibition, Swedish artists Bigert and Bergstrom will present their videotape, ‘The Last Supper.’" This hour-long work (which will be shown continuously) interviews those who prepare the final meals of condemned inmates around the world," according to the school’s press release.

Umm… now I’m not a psychologist, but I think starting-off the class with a graphic, emotional art exhibition would taint the minds of students at UC Davis into believing the death penalty is not exactly a good thing.

…but, then again, I’m not an expert in psychology.

However, maybe Professor Montoya is such an expert. According to the school’s own press release, the professor believes "that art serves the purpose of challenging people to rethink their understandings of the world."

And what would the professor hope his art work encourages "people to rethink"? Professor Montoya says, "What concerns me is, why do we kill and what happens to us as a humanity, as a culture? Why is state-sanctioned killing any different from a killing that takes place in the streets?"

Yep! I can’t think of a better way to start an academic discussion on the death penalty than by viewing some "hard hitting imagery" on the brutality of capital punishment.

Come on, UC Davis! You’re killing me…