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article imageAlberta art instructor fired over chicken killing project

By Arthur Weinreb     May 9, 2013 in World
Calgary - Gord Ferguson, a longtime teacher at the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD), has been fired after a performance art project that involved a student slaughtering a chicken. He plans to appeal.
On Monday, Ferguson confirmed he has been fired from his job although he would not directly say his termination was related to the killing of the bird. Said the former instructor, "I know this story is going to hit the newspaper and media today but it will be another day or two before I have anything to say."
As Digital Journal reported, on April 18, students were in the ACAD's cafeteria when a student entered with a live chicken. He then proceeded to slit the chicken's throat with a knife, pluck it, put it in a pot and purport to cook it. Some students were shocked and outraged and called police.
Calgary police arrived and interviewed the student. He told them that he killed the chicken in a public place as part of a performance art project for school. Police left without arresting or charging the student and made a report to the Crown Attorney's Office. The Crown decided not to lay animal cruelty charges against the student for doing what was in effect, an assignment for class.
According to the ACAD's website, Ferguson has been teaching at the school since 1981 after he graduated with a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Montana. He began as an instructor and later advanced to head the school's sculpture department.
Some of the college's students were angry about the dismissal and took to the ACAD's Facebook page to express their opinions. A student labelled the firing "outrageous" and said schools are nothing without instructors. And a former student said art is "an expression of critical thinking." He said, "As an instructor, Gord established this type of thinking, challenging his students to explore their environment in an intellectual and critical way."
Sun News reports Ferguson has hired a lawyer and intends to appeal the decision. The Alberta College of Art and Design have refused to comment on the grounds the matter is a personnel and therefore private issue.
The college has also not indicated whether the student who killed the chicken was, or will be, the subject of disciplinary actions.
More about alberta college of art and design, art instructor gord ferguson, slaughtering chickens, Performance art, Animal cruelty
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