Who knew that student newspapers were in just as much trouble as the big guys? First it was the Daltonian, the Manhattan high school paper that was censored by the nation’s highest court of law, and now it’s a sleepy Connecticut town’s Jesuit college paper. The Mirror, Fairfield University’s “nationally recognized independent student newspaper,” according to the paper’s Web site, is facing their own First Amendment crisis.
On Oct. 1, the paper published a column about one-night stands. It was essentially a field guide for how to pull one off and look cool while doing it. Some tips to get to “pleasure town” in style include: 1) Avoid calling your “swan” by the wrong name, 2) Watch out for needy “stage-five clingers” and, lest the writer come off as too meat-headed, 3) “Don’t be a fool and wrap your tool.”
The problem is that the newspaper’s editorial decision irked the Catholic university’s administrators responsible for providing the “independent” paper with $30,000 a year. Apparently, calling women “hood rats” is offensive, and some have had the gall to complain! Fairfield administrators have called for the Mirror’s editors to appear before a student conduct board.
The Mirror has apologized for the column, and its editor-in-chief, Thomas Cleary, justified the paper’s decision to run the column, which he said he initially thought was “satirical enough” that people wouldn’t take it too seriously.
But there may be a silver lining — Cleary conceded, “I think we’ve realized how much of an effect the columns have on people on campus.” And with readership plummeting nationwide, that’s not such a bad thing.