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Art Professor Under Fire For Artistic Protests

UCSD Professor Ricardo Dominguez (by Nelvin C. Cepeda / Union-Tribune)

Ricardo Dominguez, a visual arts professor at the University of California, San Diego, is under fire for electronic civil disobedience work.

Today, the San Diego Union-Tribune is reporting that Dominguez is really feeling the heat from his university, auditors, and the police over a virtual sit-in he staged last month on the website for the president of the University of California system:

The event, which disrupted the site’s operations, was held to protest budget cuts and what Dominguez called the increasing privatization of the public university … Officials at the University of California San Diego are looking at whether the sit-in amounts to a “denial of service attack,” in which a hacker tries to shut down a Web site.

But that’s not his only project that is attracting attention. His Transborder Immigrant Tool project has been under fire from anti-immigration forces and conservative congressmen since it began earlier this year:

Since January, Dominguez said, he’s also been questioned by campus administrators about a GPS-enabled cell phone tool he’s helping develop that would provide illegal immigrants with information on water bins and Border Patrol lookouts in the border area. That project has drawn complaints from three local congressmen who said public money shouldn’t be used to help illegal border-crossers.

Art is not a crime,” Dominguez said during the rally. “Online protest in not a crime.”

This is more information on bang.lab and there is an online petition you can sign to show your support for Dominguez, who is “currently being threatened with criminal action and the revocation of his tenure by UCOP and several UCSD senior administrators.”

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