Central New Mexico Community College Reinstates Student Newspaper After Sex Issue Brouhaha

Central New Mexico Community College administrators have reinstated The CNM Chronicle, roughly a day after shutting it down.

As I posted yesterday, school officials suspended the student newspaper this week almost immediately after the publication of a sex issue.  They also removed copies of the issue from newsracks across campus.

The issue includes features on BDSM, abstinence, local classes on “sexual violence, G-spots or how to give a great blow job,” sex toys, and sexual identification– the latter a centerpiece spread spotlighting “a group of people with varying sexual backgrounds . . . discuss[ing] what life is like for them as people in Albuquerque.”

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Initially, CNM officials said they were censoring the issue and temporarily closing the paper because the sexually explicit content was “offensive and not appropriate for the educational mission of CNM.”

Yet, at an emergency meeting of the Student Publications Board earlier today, college president Katharine Winograd said that in reality “[t]he reason that we pulled this issue from the newsracks around campus was that a high school student was included in this issue and we needed to check on the legal ramifications of information on a minor in a publication of the college.”

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According to the Student Press Law Center, “a 17-year-old was included in the newspaper, but . . . there are no legal problems with including a minor.  Further, as part of [Chronicle editor-in-chief Jyllian Roach’s] personal policy, parental consent had been obtained before the minor was included.  Roach said she thinks communication could have kept the situation from becoming so severe.  ‘My first reaction was, ‘Oh, well, you could have just asked me,’ Roach said of hearing Winograd’s explanation today.”

Winograd’s other bit of news: “I am authorizing the CNM Chronicle to continue operations immediately.”

My Take: Huh?  Since when is it illegal to quote a 17-year-old in the press with their full knowledge and consent?  Either Winograd is lying about this being the reason for the censorship or she oversees a school built atop overreactions, legal confusion, shifty explanations, and a lack of communication.

I’m happy to see CNM officials have partially come to their senses.  But they still need to apologize for their removal of the issue from the newsracks, an act Roach rightly describes as “so far beyond censorship it’s heartbreaking.”

Related

Central New Mexico Community College Suspends Student Newspaper After Sex Issue

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