Central New Mexico Community College has temporarily suspended its student-run newspaper, The CNM Chronicle, following the publication of an issue devoted to sex.
College officials say the suspension is not entirely due to the most recent issue, but because of a long-standing concern over the oversight and content of the weekly newspaper.
But Jyllian Roach, editor-in-chief, said the issue hit the newsstands Tuesday and six hours later, she and other staff members got a call to meet with the dean of students.
“All we know at this time is they thought it was ‘raunchy’ and that was it,” she said.
The issue includes a how-to on using sex toys, stories on sex classes and practices, a “favorite sexual position” feature, contacts for sexual resources and an article on abstinence.
“It’s a sex issue but it really focuses on education,” Roach said, adding that there’s no nudity or curse words.
College officials say they hope the newspaper is up and running again by the summer term following an evaluation of the paper’s structure and oversight.
A statement from the college reads:
“CNM does not have a journalism program, which has limited the college’s ability to provide the education and training that students need to appropriately operate a newspaper that is distributed to a student body of nearly 30,000. CNM is going to re-evaluate how students can be trained, educated and supervised in operating a widely disseminated student newspaper.”
A spokesman added that the college funds the newspaper. Students who work on it receive work-study money. They will be assigned other jobs on campus while the paper is suspended.
“The current issue was part of an ongoing pattern of concern with the content,” said Brad Moore, CNM spokesman. He declined to elaborate with examples of past concerns over content.
An attorney for the Arlington, Va.-based Student Press Law Center said he believes the college cannot legally shut the paper down. The fact that the college funds the newspaper is “irrelevant,” said Adam Goldstein, attorney advocate, adding that the college is a public institution.
“When you’re the government, you’re always subject to the First Amendment,” he said.
He added: “It sends a really adverse message in that you have to read the mind of your administration and try not antagonize them.”
— This article appeared on page C01 of the Albuquerque Journal