Editors, housing board settle suit over ad
HAWAII — A community housing board in Honolulu has settled its complaint that a student newspaper violated a federal housing law by discriminating against certain groups in the paper’s classified advertising space.
The complaint, filed in September 1995 with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by the Honolulu Community Housing Resource Board against the University of Hawaii-Manoa’s Board of Publications, claimed that in April of 1995, the student newspaper, Ka Leo O Hawai’i discriminated against males and children when it ran a housing advertisement that read in part “females preferred.”
According to Jim Reis, Director of Co-curricular Activities, Programs and Services for the University, both the publications board and the housing board have decided on an agreement. In it, the paper’s board, while not admitting liability, agrees not to publish discriminatory advertising. Ka Leo O Hawai’i staff members and the paper’s adviser also must attend a four-hour training session on fair housing and illegal discriminatory advertising.
The housing board, a non-profit organization, claimed the paper violated federal housing law by publishing advertising that “indicated a preference or limitation that excluded males and families with children from applying….”
The federal Fair Housing Act of 1968 says it is unlawful to “make, print, or publish…any notice, statement, or advertisement, with respect to the sale or rental of a dwelling that indicates any preference…based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin….” (42 U.S.C. 3600 et seq.)
“We’re working to get people not to walk into traps” said Norman Tam of the housing board, referring to editors who he said may not recognize discriminatory advertising.
When asked about the complaint, Reis said “[Ka Leo O Hawai1i] is a student newspaper.” Editorial decisions are currently being made by students, said Reis, adding that the paper will continue this policy despite the complaint.
In addition to the training session, the publications board has also agreed to print an article on fair housing laws and the rights of students, though just when the article is to be published remains in the hands of the staff at Ka Leo O Hawaii, said Reis.
reports, Winter 1996-97