June 11, 2008 · Updated 6:28 PM
Why go to college when you could work in a topless club? Is this the highest goal that we hold for young girls in our society? The very girls who are attempting to improve their lives by getting a college education? If this line of work is so fun, safe and lucrative, as one 19-year-old girl is quoted as saying, why should we want any more for young girls? After all she made $4,500 in March alone, more than double what the state salary scale allows a first-year teacher in Washington. I dont know about you but a recent article left me unsatisfied to say the least. Am I the only person who thinks it is unacceptable for this business owner to directly target the women of this school? Am I also alone in believing that a quality education is comprised of learning and equity not stripping to pay your tuition? So, I have done a bit of digging around as to the full-page job posting/advertisement for a local strip club in the Olympic College newspaper, The Olympian.
Just how does advertising jobs at a topless club provide quality education? As an educator myself, I have read a great deal about what it means to give and receive a quality education. Funny, it never involved taking off your clothes!
After checking with the Attorney General, as one college representative told me, there is little they can do. The school newspaper is protected from the censorship of the college administration. This comes about from laws keeping student-written newspapers free of the authoritarian agendas of the college. Plainly stated, these laws say that the college had better not tell the student newspaper what to do, or they will potentially face legal repercussions.
This is all logically understandable to me. However, I further wonder about the reactions of the parents of OC students. Is this the quality education that you are paying for? Do you hope that your college-attending daughter will kick in a little by taking it all off at the local strip club? Or that your college-attending son will be stuffing bills in her underwear?
In truth this is not a First Amendment rights issue. This is an editorial choice.
The leading editors of the school paper gathered together to make the decision to run this ad (a group of four male students and their faculty advisor). The Olympic College school newspaper does have an advertisement acceptance policy, which states that as long as the ad concerns lawful activity, is not false or misleading and is otherwise protected by the First Amendment (the material is not libelous, obscene, protected by copyright, etc.) it can be accepted, but, goes on to say that, the Olympian editor-in-chief reserves the right to accept or reject any advertisement. The advertisers right to submit the job posting is clearly protected by the First Amendment and the advertising policy. However, the newspaper also has the right to reject advertising dollars from any advertiser that they choose. The Student Press Law Center states, The First Amendment only prohibits government-sanctioned censorship, the right of students to reject advertising in the publications they produce is protected. As long as students and not public school officials (including a faculty adviser) make the advertising decisions for a student publication, courts have said that the student media have the same right to reject advertising as their commercial counterparts because there is no state action.
This is a lot of responsibility for this small all-male group. So, how do they choose what to accept or reject?
They could try listening to the student body. If a large enough group of students demonstrated on the college campus maybe the newspaper (which is partially funded by student dollars up front in their activities fees) would get the picture that a significant amount of students do not want this ad. Oh wait, that already happened and they still havent pulled it. Maybe, if a group of approximately 300 students signed a petition and sent it to the paper asking to have the ad removed then they would get the idea. Nope, that didnt work either.
One more thing taxpayers, do you know that according to the OC Web site, 55 percent of Olympic College revenue comes from the state? Those are your tax dollars! Is this how you intend to spend your hard earned money?
According to the Washington Coalition for Sexual Assault Prevention, one-third of women will be sexually abused in Washington state in their lifetime. I believe that the prevalent attitude of putting a monetary value on the female body does nothing but equate women to a commodity, thus feeding the belief that women are objects to be used and abused. This is unacceptable.
I believe the editor-in-chief and the staff at The Olympian have a fantastic opportunity to break open this prevalent attitude. They have a chance to listen to the student body and create a community that does provide a quality education, a college campus that promotes integrity, higher thinking, excellence and equality. This is not about blame, shame or anger. This is about giving college students an environment to learn which actually encourages learning. Rather than feeding the belief that some can, while others may just have to strip to be able to pay for it.