Except as stated in this policy, nudity and the taking of nude pictures on campus is prohibited. This includes outdoors on all campus grounds and inside all campus buildings, including the public spaces in the residence halls. The two exceptions to this general prohibition are the following: First, students may take nude pictures in student residence hall rooms provided that all roommates agree. Second, students and student organizations may also use the drawing room in the Studio Arts Department to stage and take nude photos. Students and student organizations must schedule their photo shoots according to the guidelines established by the Studio Arts department. (They must check the sign up sheet posted outside the drawing room, check with the director of the Art Club and all professors who teach in those rooms during the semester to ensure that students in their classes are not working on outside assignments.)
Massachusetts’ indecent exposure laws generally prohibit nudity in public places, which may include campus property. Care should be taken to avoid federal, state and local laws criminalizing or prohibiting obscenity or child pornography from applying to activities by Wellesley College students and student organizations involving nudity. We recognize that identifying what is “obscene” under the law, and thus not protected by the First Amendment, can be a difficult task. Massachusetts law defines obscene matter as that which, if taken as a whole, “(1) appeals to the prurient interest of the average person applying the contemporary standards of the county where the offense was committed; (2) depicts or describes sexual conduct in a patently offensive way; and (3) lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.” Many others simply point to Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s quip: “I know it when I see it.”
Students are strongly urged to ensure that their activities comply not only with this policy, but with all laws too. Violations of College policy and the law may subject the individuals involved to discipline, which may include expulsion, as well as liability under the law. If you have any questions about the application of this policy or those laws, please contact the Dean of Students.