The Western Gazette, the student newspaper for the Univ. of Western Ontario in London, Ontario, apologized for an article telling readers how to date their teaching assistants and other articles in its annual “Frosh Issue.”
The teaching assistant article suggested students “Facebook stalk” TAs and “get sexual.” See below a portion of the article.
In an Aug. 27 letter to readers from the paper’s editorial board, the Gazette admitted it “displayed a lack of judgment.”
The paper said it plans to “review its editorial practices,” unpublish the articles in question, pull print issues from stands and not pass out copies during orientation week.
Other articles that were criticized addressed drinking and drugs, Canada’s Metro News reported. The drug article was titled “Drugs: Advice for your Western experience.” See below:
See below the issue in PDF form.
The Gazette’s apology went on, “In publishing articles that appeared to promote excessive drinking, drug use and sexual advances on teaching assistants, The Gazette displayed a lack of judgment regarding issues we have reported on seriously in the past. We regret this mistake, and we look forward to reporting on these issues in a more serious manner in the future.”
The paper received much criticism.
“The article denigrates the work of teaching assistants and reduces them to objects of sexual gratification. It encourages sexual harassment and disregards the importance of campus and workplace safety. While the Editorial Board of the Gazette has since issued an apology and a complete retraction of the article, the publication of the article and some of the responses to it remain concerning.’
The school’s provost and vice-president academic Janice Deakin said she was “disappointed” with the article on teaching assistants in a letter to the paper published on the Western Gazette’s website. “As with other media, The Gazette has the right to run provocative articles but I find it objectionable that your paper would publish a column promoting the idea that students should attempt to have inappropriate relationships with graduate teaching assistants,” Deakin wrote.
She added, “Not only does the spirit of the article run contrary to Western’s efforts to have a workplace and learning environment that is free from sexual harassment, it is disrespectful of the essential contribution graduate teaching assistants make to Western’s academic mission.”
Further, Deakin argued the article was neither “satire or humorous.”
And the university’s Student Council president Matt Helfand called the article a “large mistake” in a letter quoted by Canada’s CTV News. He added “I urge the current editorial board to take responsibility for the situation, and launch an investigation through the Gazette Advisory Board.”
The university issued a statement saying it “welcomes” the retraction and is glad the newspaper took “Responsibility.”
“From their apology, the student editors appear to have learned they showed a lack of proper judgment in their decision to publish these articles,” the statement read.
At first, the paper defended the articles. In an Aug. 26 letter to readers, the paper conceded the articles’ “tone” was problematic but said the Forsh issue’s articles are “more light-hearted” and “informal.”
iMediaEthics wrote to the paper’s editor but received an auto reply that he is on vacation.
UPDATE: 8/27/2014 8:49 PM EST Added info