College Is No Place For The Sex Talk

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47 Responses

  1. Clark says:


    The heck, Ken? The twentieth century called; it wants its humor tropes back.

    A Hitler Downfall parody or GTFO.

  2. neight says:

    Things move fairly slowly on their way to New Mexico. College students talking about sex is already a self parodying meme on the coasts.

  3. Qitaana says:

    I <3 Clark. That is all.

  4. PLW says:

    Hell no. College is a place for the sex _action_.

  5. Chris says:

    Ken, you should write Broadway farce. Seriously.

  6. Nicholas Weaver says:

    OK, clark, generate your response:

  7. Dave Ruddell says:

    This is one of the reasons it's a good idea, if at all possible, for your campus newspaper to be incorporated, like we had at UNC with the Daily Tar Heel. I suppose if the DTH pissed off the UNC administration sufficiently they could have taken away our distribution racks, but they would have been unable to shut down the paper.

  8. Jess says:

    Fucking Unicorns.

  9. mcinsand says:

    I'm not anything close to a lawyer, but Dave Ruddell is bringing some questions of mine up to the surface (despite the fact that he is from UNC. Not only did I spend the '80's at NCSU, but I'm pretty sure I was conceived there, since my parents were in the married housing dorm 9 months before I was born. Anyway…). Incorporation sounds logical to me as a way to set up a barrier. If the college owns the paper, then the college can decide what themes/articles the paper covers, right? First Amendment just guarantees that the government will not interfere with free speech, but that doesn't mean that every speaker has a right to someone else's megaphone. In this case, the college was not telling the people that they could not write and distribute such material, but the college had trouble with it being in an official college publication.

    This reminds me of what happened a couple of years ago when NFL dropped a country 'music' 'artist' because of private comments he made about President Obama. My right-wing friends were apoplectic and saying that it was a violation of the First Amendment. I vainly tried to explain how the First Amendment does not force companies to hire or select spokespeople that the companies don't want, and the government was not doing anything to tell the 'artist' that he couldn't make his comments. (Ironically, these were the same people that wanted The Dixie Chicks muzzled when they said things about President Bush.)

    However, even more important is just how appropriate this series of articles is for the target audience. Young adults most need good, clear, direct discussion on issues that they are facing, and sex is a whole family of those issues. If anything, the administration should have handed out recognition awards to the writers that took it on themselves to tackle the topics.

  10. bradley13 says:

    I just flipped through the issue online. It is done in good taste, dares to be practical – really a nice job. Someone is being just a wee bit uptight.

    That said, if the college funds the paper, they do get a say in the content. Perhaps this will be the impetus for the students to find external funding sources.

  11. Merissa says:

    Have any of these fools been to college? That's what you do during college.

  12. JT says:

    You’re just a terrorist trying to intimidate the Dean’s free speech rights with your criticism. Oh wait, now I’m doing it. You have to stop posting this stuff; it’s part of your strategy to chill people’s expression of their right to . . . damn, I’m doing it again, aren’t I? Logic is hard. No, not that kind of hard. Shut up. Damn, that’s three times.

  13. orvis barfley says:

    @merissa-it's more than ok to do it but nothing like ok to speak about it in anything like a public place.

    *farside*we have no clear picture how much the rest of the animal kingdom knows about us, but if they know very much, you know they laugh their collective butt off at us when we are around to get huffy and fuck up their environment.*/farcehide*

  14. orvis barfley says:

    *NOT around*


  15. perlhaqr says:

    Hey, this has to be the closest Popehat has ever struck to home for me. I've known the Editor in Chief of that paper (Or, uh, former paper? About to be really well funded paper?) for nearly 10 years.

    *waves* "Hi Jyllian!"

  16. MattS says:


    Isn't that illegal?

  17. Wick says:

    Dean Garcia, a Ms. Streisand is on line one.

  18. perlhaqr says:

    mcinsand: If the college owns the paper, then the college can decide what themes/articles the paper covers, right? First Amendment just guarantees that the government will not interfere with free speech, but that doesn't mean that every speaker has a right to someone else's megaphone.

    I dunno. I mean, I get your point, and if this were a private entity, I'd be in full accordance with you. The college "owns" the paper, in that it funds the paper, yes. But the college itself is funded with tuition and tax dollars.

    So, if it's "government funded", is the act of shutting it down due to content "government censorship"?

    (I really don't know. I am open to arguments either direction. The answer to this question, of course, is totally orthogonal to that of whether it was a good idea to shut down the paper, even if it's not officially "government censorship", or whether Dean Garcia has made a laughingstock of both himself and CNM.)

  19. Luke says:

    Government censorship is when the government tells you you can't write/produce/sell something.

    This is a government entity that is saying it will not fund things it sees as being in conflict with its mission.

    I'm not sure "award-winning" is that helpful either, since the paper at my school wins all kinds of awards, but everyone outside the journalism school knows it's a joke.

  20. mcinsand says:


    After all of the times people have given me blank stares for using 'orthogonal' in a sentence, I have to save a copy of your post just to show that others know and use the word, too!

  21. Merissa says:

    @orvis barfley: I'd like to see this fellow get stuck in the body of a female community college student for a while. I had my rear end groped more times in two years of college than in ten years of living abroad and taking the subway.

  22. Ken says:

    Crazy to think that just because I hyperlink "First Amendment rights" to a site about the First Amendment rights of college papers, that people will actually read it and consider it in discussing what rights papers do or don't have.

  23. Nate says:

    The president of ASU tried to shutdown the student newspaper, The State Press, to appease a donor while I was there. I wish I could find copies of that paper and the subsequent reporting on it. As I recall the editor wrote a letter to the students assuring us he would stand his ground against the censorship. If I remember correctly I think the newspaper won out. Most students at the time had a low opinion of the president of the university. (I still do.)

  24. Windypundit says:

    "dog toys"?!?

    I think I just fell in love with Popehat all over again…

  25. Tori says:


    Maybe the inline link wasn't quite clear that it was to First Amendment rights specific to college newspapers. I know I didn't bother clicking on that link until I read your comment.

  26. Clark says:


    > Crazy to think that just because I hyperlink "First Amendment rights" to a site about the First Amendment rights of college papers, that people will actually read it

    I'm tempted to ask "Is this your first week on the internet?" but I've already been mean to you in this comment thread.

    …so I think I'll save that for your next post.

    And speaking of idiots on the internet, (a) I'm one, because I've wasted several hours this week playing, and (b) the range of throw-away usernames on that site is…. breathtaking.

    [ and not in a good way…as if that needed to be said ]

  27. PLW says:

    [pedant] If it's illegal to shut down the paper, it is definitely not a good idea. Since knowing whether it's illegal or not can tell us something about whether its a good idea or not, the two questions cannot be orthogonal (in the mathematical/statistical sense).[/pedant]

  28. En Passant says:

    The late, great, Paul W. Klipsch, who generously endowed the school of engineering at his alma mater New Mexico State University (previously known as New Mexico A&M), frequently used a common eight letter word to describe outrageous claims. He even made and distributed big bright yellow buttons inscribed with the motto in Olde English type.

    Perhaps such buttons should appear in response to the present claims about the limits of "the educational mission of CNM", worn proudly by its students. They can always say they are honoring the memory of a great patron of New Mexico higher education.

  29. Lucy says:

    The scene: Orthodontist waiting area.

    The Cast: Mother seated next to her14 y/o son, who is seated next to his 16 y/o sister.

    Mother opens mobile to Popehat and reacts: My God if you can't talk about sex in college who CAN you talk to??

    Daughter: What? Let me see that.

    Mother hands over the phone.

    Son: We have the internet.

    Mother and son share an awkward pause.

    Son resumes his Scientific American

    Daughter hands back the phone.

    Thanks Ken.

  30. David Nagel says:

    This isn't rare at all; it's all too common on college campuses. My paper at Cal State Long Beach was shut down several times, literally had the doors chained to keep us out. Following one shutdown, we dedicated our comeback issue's front page to illustrating which sexual acts are okay and not okay … just to be helpful and show were were on board with the administration's stance on sex. Here's a shot of my t-shirt made from that front page. The condition has deteriorated slightly over the last [cough] 21 years.

    On the plus side, the ACLU was fairly generous when it comes to defending student papers.

  31. Since I do know about these things, I'll offer the nickel version. One, these are student activities fees, which aren't the same as tax funds in terms of the government discretion in how to spend them. At best, the government had a bailment of this money, and the terms of its expenditure are outlined in cases like Southworth. (For a rough analogy, imagine your workplace collects money for a coffee run. You pay $2 for a cup of coffee. It brings you back a Zima.)

    Second, the government doesn't stop being the government when it starts running a school, any more than it stops being the government when it runs a courthouse or a DMV. While there are restrictions on the nature of speech in any of those contexts, the restrictions are limited to what is necessary to achieve the legitimate goals of the institution. "We found it offensive" is never, ever, anywhere, ever, going to be a legitimate goal. Broadly speaking, courts have recognized that, in the college context, anything that doesn't cause the institution to stop operating is protected.

    There's other stuff in this particular situation, too, but that's the basic, generally applicable framework.

  32. Ken says:

    Adam, you're very new to this, so I have to tell you: the internet is no place for well-informed explanations from subject-matter experts. This is a place of belief and opinion.

  33. Shawn Young says:

    Clicked through the link. I'm left with more (potentially dumb) questions than answers.

    1) If the administration dislikes what's being printed in the newspaper, how easily can it make it hard to publish future issues? The linked article said that financial support can't be withdrawn, but if it's doled out on a quarterly basis, can it be not renewed at quarter's end? If the physical plant needs a new tool room, how easily can the paper's offices be requisitioned? etc.

    2) Do the protections described extend to non-permanent fixtures on campus (leaflets, people marching with placards…)?

    3) Does state law come into play or is it strictly a federal thing if the First Amendment is involved? I'm asking because of 4) below.

    4) In re: Hazelwood, which seems to draw a line inbetween schools and colleges according to the link: if I understand it correctly, last year the Sixth Circuit used Hazelwood to chip away at college students rights in Ward v. Polite. Am I off base?


  34. Al Bundy says:

    How would something like this play out at a private college? My university had some controversies over student groups inviting controversial speakers but I think they were resolved "in house."

  35. Al Bundy says:

    …Well that was redundant. Let's say "free speech issues" over controversial speakers.

  36. Ken says:

    See update.

  37. AlphaCentauri says:

    First announcement:

    CNM felt the content was offensive and not appropriate for the educational mission of CNM. CNM funds the operations of the Chronicle, and as a publicly funded institution, CNM feels a responsibility to make sure public funds are being used to support the College’s educational mission.

    Several hours later:

    The reason that we pulled this issue from the news racks 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.

    So talking about sex is offensive an inappropriate, but lying to us like we're stupid is okay?

  38. eigenperson says:

    In the hopefully unlikely event that someone has not seen it:

  39. eigenperson says:

    I guess I failed with my tag.

  40. perlhaqr says:

    Well, Ken, I have to admit, you got me. I saw the link labelled "First Amendment rights" but figured it was just a link to, well, the text of the first amendment or something, I don't think I even hovered the link to see where it led.

    Consider me chastised.

  41. Erik says:

    The CNM President's name is Katharine Winograd. Seriously. Winograd. I'm now afraid that the irony will short-circuit my iPad.

  42. SarahW says:

    Isn't the more recent statement a heads up that the Dean intends to take more control of the paper, and want to remove the student editors discretion by replacing them with a school-supplied top editor or something along those lines?

    I clicked through that "first amendment" hyperlink and read a that the school can't shut things down when the school allows students editorial control. Wouldn't a back door method of censorship be to install editors more beholden to the school's mission, to no longer permit that student editorial control?

  43. James Pollock says:

    I'm going to point out that the "we're all adults" probably won't fly. Community colleges A) have some students who are minors, and B) have some people on campus who are not students, and some of them are minors, too.

  44. Marilou says:

    Popehat is my hero! Dog toys, indeed. And for big dogs!

  45. TPRJones says:

    "I believe as a College we have failed to provide the CNM Chronicle with the level of editorial resources…"

    I find this reference to future increased levels of "editorial resources" to be troubling. I think this is going to prove to have been far from a complete surrender on the part of the administration.

    On a more personal note, I work at a community college and part of what I do is act as adviser to an anime club student organization. Part of the club activities is screenings of anime, some of which includes content that the most prudish among the administration would consider inappropriate (not hentai, but certainly not puritan either). They are adults and as a government institution we have no (or perhaps limited, but I'd rather pretend none for now) right to censor their screenings, but I worry that one day the wrong person will walk into the room at the wrong moment and everything will go to hell in a handbasket. So far, so good.

  46. DeathpÖny says:

    As a former public servant I can say the "I believe as a College we have failed to provide the CNM Chronicle with the level of editorial resources…" line is established code for the school administration providing a watcher for all future Publications Board meetings so the admin has advance notice at least of future "interesting" content.

    In a less enlightened jurisdiction the obvious corollary relating to orders from said admin regarding publication or otherwise would naturally follow.