Nick Staubitz, USC President, said the issue has come up before, noting it has been discussed at several Board of Directors meetings and has also been broached by the Women’s Issues Network.
Staubitz noted WIN had something to say about ads on campus turning women into objects and “reducing them to their parts.”
Though Staubitz noted he was unaware of any complaints about the strip club ads, he stated the USC believes that revenue generated by ads should take a back seat to what is morally appropriate on campus.
“Some of the best arguments come from the Women’s Issues Network,” he added.
USC advertising manager Alex McKay said the authority to decide whether or not to accept strip club ads in The Gazette has flopped back and forth between USC and Gazette officials.
He noted that prior to 1995, advertising was left to the discretion of the Gazette’s editorial board. More recently, he said, there have been questions about whether Gazette staff should be able to make the decision.
McKay said the revenue from strip club ads — which comprise two accounts in the advertising department — is not a significant amount, adding the advertising department will maintain these contracts for the duration of the year but will not renew them next year.
McKay said the ad department had originally consulted with other papers and determined strip club ads were generally acceptable, leading to the inclusion of the ads in the first place.
“Students at Western are smart and can formulate their own decisions — if we found readers had resounding complaints, we would do something about it,” McKay said.
He noted strip club ads did not receive more complaints than other ads.
Julia Kerr, an active member of WIN, said WIN coordinator Kelly Wilson and several other members held a meeting with Staubitz and VP-campus issues Eric Johanssen to discuss the representation of women in campus advertising.
“What’s offensive to us might not be to other people, but the point we are trying to make is that [strip club ads] transcend what is offensive and sustain an unhealthy campus culture,” she said.
Johanssen said two things came of the meeting: all future editions of the Westernizer will be approved by the Board of Directors, and strip club ads will no longer be allowed in The Gazette.
Johanssen and Kerr both confirmed a new advertising policy is in the works.