New York community college newspaper back in business after 8-day shutdown

The staff of a New York community college student newspaper is now back in its newsroom, following an eight-day shutdown that resulted from the paper's publication of a controversial advertisement.

The staff of The Hudsonian was locked out of its office after the Hudson Valley Community College student senate objected to an advertisement for a strip club that the paper published in its Feb. 2 edition. The senate wanted the newspaper to agree not to publish another ad for the strip club, even though the establishment's owner had paid the newspaper $500 to run the ad twice.

An agreement was reached between the student senate and the owner of the strip club, without the newspaper's involvement. The owner, a former Hudson Valley student, accepted the senate's request that he not publish the second advertisement in the next edition of The Hudsonian, and the student senate paid him $250 -- the cost of the ad.

The full-page advertisement was a help-wanted ad for female dancers. It featured a color photo of a woman in a bikini, and it promised a $100 bonus after the first month of employment, said Hudsonian editor Tony Gray.

After the publication of the ad, the newspaper's adviser resigned, saying in his resignation letter that he did not want to be associated with a publication that would print an ad for a strip club.

Declaring that a student club could not exist without an adviser, the student senate locked the doors to The Hudsonian office, effectively shutting the staff members out and forcing them to cease publication of the newspaper

The administration has "vociferously objected to editorials and news coverage for the last semester and are trying to use this for justifying shutting down the paper," Gray said seven days after the ad ran in the Feb. 2 edition.

After eight days, the student senate and the staff of The Hudsonian reached a compromise, which allowed the staff members to return to their office on Feb. 21.

"We still have issues to work out with the school regarding the proper relations and degree of oversight and/or cooperation allowed by law," Gray said. "We will reopen, get back to putting papers out the door and meeting our commitments to our readers and advertisers."

Gray says he has not yet decided whether to pursue legal action.