Editor, adviser removed after printing photos
FLORIDA — Officials at Jacksonville University removed student editor Angie Koury and faculty adviser Marc Charisse after The Navigator published a risque photograph of a male beauty pageant.
The pageant was a homecoming event, and was intended to satirize other beauty pageants.
The photo showed one contestant wearing only a strategically placed sock, and another scantily-clad contestant clutching an inflatable rubber sex doll.
“I don’t think it was unprofessional for the student newspaper to use that photograph, since it was from an actual school-sponsored news event,” Charisse said. “I’ve talked to the kids involved, and their position was they were ‘modeling evening wear,’ they were satirizing beauty pageants and the parading of flesh on stage. Nothing happened to them, and I got fired over this.”
Koury was removed from her position as editor, and was placed on disciplinary probation.
The private university has a student media board that is supposed to be responsible for dealing with situations like this, but Koury said the board’s authority has been overruled.
“It’s kind of a touchy subject right now,” Koury said. “I was told that I had overstepped my boundaries. I’ve gotten an attorney, because I don’t believe that covering a news event is ever tasteless, even if the event itself is. I have three main goals in this: I want to have the disciplinary probation wiped off my record, before I graduate [in May] I want to be reinstated as editor as a matter of principle, and I want to have the media bylaws clarified so that this can’t happen in the future.”
Koury has been temporarily replaced by Robert Oaks.
“He’s in a terrible position now — the university has said, basically, that if he screws up there will be no student newspaper,” Charisse said.
Charisse has been replaced by Marilyn Repsher, a math professor who, by her own admission, according to Koury, is unqualified to be the adviser. Charisse’s contract has not been renewed.
“There’s been a long history of censorship problems at J.U.,” Charisse said. “There’s a real punish-the-troublemaker climate here. It’s real important to Angie to prove that students can’t be pushed around like this — the paper here would be a great place to see how the chilling effect of censorship works. There’s a lot of talk right now that maybe the journalism program is more trouble than it’s worth.”
reports, Spring 1997