ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - It looks like a war over free speech has been avoided.
Student newspaper staff were preparing to go to battle with Central New Mexico Community College after administrators yanked the student newspaper from stands and suspended operations Tuesday.
The reason was a racy issue on sex that left little to the imagination. But on Wednesday CNM administrators changed their tune, and the CNM Chronicle is back in business just as the controversy was heating up even more.
The controversy surrounding Tuesday's Chronicle sparked an uproar from staff at another student newspaper, the Daily Lobo at the University of New Mexico.
"The point is once you start controlling the message, once you set that precedent, free speech and consequently democracy are in big trouble," Daily Lobo Editor in Chief Elizabeth Cleary told KRQE News 13. Her staff wanted to make a bold statement, she added.
And they did.
The front page of Wednesday's Daily Lobo featured Cleary's editorial explaining why the paper isn't publishing any articles.
"If you look in here you'll see that all of the spaces that would be filled with content are just filled with black Xs," she wrote.
"This by far is the biggest display of support we've seen, and we appreciate it," said Jyllian Roach, the Chronicle's editor in chief.
At the center of all this is Tuesday's Chronicle featuring images of sex toys, tips for buying them and even columns on bondage techniques.
CNM officials stated Tuesday they pulled the issue from shelves for offensive content. But on Wednesday CNM President Kathie Winograd returned the copies and offered a new explanation.
"The reason that we pulled this issue from the news racks around campus was that a high school student was included in the issue, and we needed to check on the legal ramifications of information on a minor in a publication of CNM," she said.
CNM and student staff agreed to work on better ways to communicate.
"I think if they had just come to me and asked me, we could have probably had this over and done with in a matter of minutes," Roach said after a meeting of the Publication Board. "But you know it's all live and learn experience, and that's not just for us."
"I hope that the Publication Board will discuss ways to move forward to create a more positive educational environment," added Winograd.
The Publication Board discussed things like better training for Chronicle staff but said they'd have more direction for student staff in their next meeting. Roach said they did have parental consent for the interview in question, which was featured in the portion of the issue about abstinence.
Cleary said the Daily Lobo will resume publication also so long as CNM keeps up its end of the deal.
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