Community protests against adult night club ads


Newspaper staff says they need the money





\nHAWAII - After seeing scantily clad women in the student\nnewspaper, students and faculty, as well as some members of the\ncommunity, protested in front of the University of Hawaii at Manoa's\nBoard of Publication that the newspaper demeaned women.

The scantily clad women were part of an advertisement for hostess\nbars, which the editors of the newspaper, Ka Leo O Hawaii,\nagreed to print due to the $30,000 a semester revenue it brought\nin.

Those opposed to the adult night club ads say they put students\nat risk, claiming the businesses can be fronts for prostitution\nand drug abuse, although they presented no evidence to support\nthat claim. They said the bars also try to solicit female students\nto work for them and bring prostitution, rape and abuse onto campus,\nan image the University of Hawaii could do without.

"Some believe the ads are so objectionable, they want\nthe university to terminate the mandatory student fee that supports\nthe bulk of the student publications program," said Jay Hartwell,\nthe newspaper's adviser.

Hartwell said he encouraged the editor to listen to the opposition's\nconcerns before making a decision. The editor also consulted with\nhis staff for its opinion, and the majority agreed the revenue\nwas much needed.

The staff defended their free press rights by stating the ads\ncomply to the same advertising standards as the local press, which\nalso runs hostess bar ads.

"Just because a newspaper accepts an ad, doesn't mean\nthey condone it," said Susan Peterson, president of the national\norganization College Newspaper Business and Advertising Managers.\nShe says if everything in the ad is legal, truthful and tasteful,\nthen the staff should not be criticized for running it.

At the February meeting with the publication board, both sides\npresented their arguments. Hartwell said if the protest persisted,\nthen this would end up as a First Amendment trial.

The board later concluded, according to Hartwell, that veto\npower over advertising should be transferred from the editor to\nthe advertising manager. The board also altered the newspaper's\nguidelines for acceptable advertising, but the new guidelines\nmention nothing about disallowing hostess bar ads.

However, at least one federal court of appeals has said that\na publications board cannot dictate advertising decisions to a\nstudent publication. In the 1986 case Sinn v. Daily Nebraskan,\nthe U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled that if\na publications board policy forced a student editor to reject\nan ad, the policy would violate First Amendment protections.

The paper will continue printing the ads, but they agreed not\nto print ads for escort services, and would only show the heads\nof the women from the hostess bars and not their bodies. \n


reports, Spring 1999