Vita Excolatur has received the go-ahead from ORCSA to print its upcoming issue in its current form this spring. The decision was made after concerns about the issue’s content and use of consent forms delayed the process.
ORCSA announced their decision to the erotic art and sex magazine this past weekend, according to Vita. Though ORCSA had expressed reservations about graphic images, including photographs of male-female penetration and penetration using a vegetable, they have since stated that Vita is free to publish what it wishes so long as it respects the law, according to the magazine’s executive director and third-year Kelsey Gee.
“[ORCSA staff] aren’t interested in censoring or drawing arbitrary lines, but rather offered serious recommendations,” Gee said.
According to Vita, the group discussed potential legal concerns regarding the penetration images with their ORSCA adviser Ravi Randhava. But Vita members say ORCSA did not cite specific laws, and the RSO was unsure what the particular legal issue was.
After following up on the issue this weekend, Vita said it became clear the main legal concern was the genitalia portrayed on the cover. However, they said ORCSA clarified that as long as they concealed the genitalia with an opaque cover and made sure buyers were over 18 years of age, they could publish and sell the magazine in its current form.
ORCSA also wanted to ensure that all models’ and writers’ consent forms had been signed and submitted prior to publishing, ORCSA Director Sharlene Holly said.
ORCSA urged Vita to remember to balance its artistic mission when considering the racy material and to remain in compliance with Illinois State Law, according to Gee. Because of the nudity, Vita cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 18 under the Chicago Municipal Code. In the past, Vita has been sold to anybody 17 years old and up.
Finally, Vita said ORCSA wanted to make sure Vita understood the implications of the penetration and food-play images before publishing them.
Sharlene Holly said the discussions between Vita staff and Randhava were designed to help students through the publishing process. “The discussions among students and with their advisor are an important part of ensuring a responsible and thoughtful approach to publishing, and those discussions continue,” she said.
Randhava declined to comment.
Despite its intervention, ORCSA never intended to censor the issue, according to Gee. “They never said ‘You can’t print this.’ However, some people did remark that the images were ‘unsettling,’” Gee said.
Still, Gee said the controversial nature of the images was intentional. “Part of the point though is to be unsettling,” she said.
Because ORCSA’s intervention extended their review period, Vita’s staff is still in discussion about the final proof and may adjust certain images for artistic integrity.
“Because more people got to look at it, we’re now in a better position,” Gee said.