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Yale to Cancel Controversial 'Abortion Art' Exhibit Unless Student Admits It's Fiction

Yale University has threatened to pull a senior student's controversial "abortion art" project from an exhibition Tuesday unless she admits she lied about artificially inseminating herself and inducing miscarriages to produce the piece.

The Ivy League school stood by its claim Monday that Aliza Shvarts fabricated a shocking work of "creative fiction" in detailing how she constructed her senior art project.

"In this case, we will not permit her to install the project unless she submits a clear and unambiguous written statement that her installation is a work of fiction: that she did not try to inseminate herself and induce miscarriages, and that no human blood will be physically displayed in her installation," Yale College Dean Peter Salovey said in a statement released Monday.

Under normal circumstances, Shvarts' work would be displayed at the School of Art for "critique and discussion" with a faculty committee, according to Salovey.

Shvarts did not respond Monday to requests for comment.

Salovey said that after he and School of Art Dean Robert Storr conducted an investigation, they determined two faculty members made "serious errors of judgment" and should be disciplined for the part they played.

"In one case, the instructor responsible for the senior project should not have allowed it to go forward," he said. "In the other, an adviser should have interceded and consulted others when first given information about the project. Appropriate action has been taken in these two cases."

He didn't specify what the nature of the action was, nor did he name the faculty members. The Yale Daily News, which broke the story last week, reported that the faculty members likely were Shvarts' thesis adviser, lecturer Pia Lindman; and Henk van Assen, the art school's director of undergraduate studies.

Last week, Storr issued a statement saying that Shvarts' piece "is not an acceptable project in a community where the consequences go beyond the individual who initiates the project and may even endanger the individual."

On Friday, in a guest column that appeared in the Yale Daily News, Shvarts stood by her story that she artificially inseminated herself using sperm donors whose identities she said she was keeping secret, then administered herbal drugs to induce possible miscarriages.

She said she never knew for sure whether she was pregnant, but she collected blood around the time of her period after she took the herbs and spread it onto hundreds of feet of plastic that she wrapped around a large cube. The cube was to be suspended from the ceiling of the exhibition hall, and videos of her undergoing the alleged self-induced miscarriages were to be projected on the cube and the walls.

She has claimed that the display was meant to provoke discussion about the link between art and the body.

Yale has called her a performance artist, saying that her denial of the school's version of events is part of her performance. The university insisted last week that in interviews with Shvarts, she told them her stories were false.