NM college letting suspended paper publish again

Suspended NM community college paper to resume publication after outcry over 'censorship'

Associated Press

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- A student-run New Mexico community college newspaper that was suspended this week after publishing an issue focusing on sex will be allowed to resume publication, school officials announced Wednesday.

Central New Mexico Community College spokesman Brad Moore said the CNM Chronicle has been authorized to continue operations immediately, and the papers will be returned to newsstands.

The Albuquerque school had suspended publication of the CNM Chronicle and suspended the student staff Tuesday, following the issue's release. Administrators said the content, which included articles on sex toys, abstinence, and students' favorite sexual positions, was offensive and inappropriate for the school's mission.

Officials then took issues off distribution racks on a campus of nearly 30,000 students.

In response, the University of New Mexico student newspaper, The Daily Lobo, announced it also would cease publishing "in solidarity" with CNM Chronicle staff and called the CNM Chronicle's suspension censorship.

After student journalists and media advocates crowded a special meeting of the college's publications board Wednesday, officials backed down and said the student staff would be allowed to return to the weekly paper, which is funded by the college.

CNM President Katharine Winograd told students that officials originally pulled the paper from the stands because "a high school student was included in this issue and we needed to check on the legal ramifications of information on a minor in a publication of the college."

Winograd also said the college, which does not have a journalism program, had failed to give students proper resources.

"I believe as a college we have failed to provide the CNM Chronicle with the level of editorial resources and education that it needs and deserves," Winograd said in a statement. "I hope that in today's publication board meeting, the board will discuss ways the college can provide you a better educational experience through your participation with the CNM Chronicle."

CNM Chronicle Editor Jyllian Roach said the sex issue was meant to be educational.

"We know that some people were going to be uncomfortable," Roach said. "But we never expected CNM to do something like this."

She said the high school student mentioned by the president was interviewed for a story about abstinence and the paper got permission from parents.

"We don't feel we did anything wrong," Roach said. "We followed the law and all ethical standards to the best of our ability."

Roach, who is studying sociology, said the ordeal has made her want to pursue journalism as a career even more.

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Follow Russell Contreras at http://twitter.com/russcontreras .

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