Archive for Wednesday, October 24, 1990

SENEX VOTES NO ON TIMETABLE ADS

October 24, 1990

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Kansas University's timetable should not feature advertising, members of the University Senate Executive Committee said Tuesday.

After a complaint by a member of the KU faculty, SenEx voted 4-3 to recommend that no advertising be allowed in the university's timetable, a guide that lists information about courses and examination schedules.

The recommendation will go to Executive Vice Chancellor Del Shankel for consideration.

In a letter to SenEx chair Frances Ingemann, Elizabeth Banks, associate professor of classics, said she found an advertisement in the spring 1991 timetable sexist. The ad for bar soap appears on the back cover of the spring 1991 timetable and features a woman in a bare-midriff shorts outfit.

"The timetable is not Cosmo or Sports Illustrated," Banks said in the letter. "Are we to expect a swimsuit edition next?"

In an interview today, Banks said KU should not allow such advertising in an academic guide.

"We're supposed to be an educational institution helping people form their tastes for the better and their values for the better, and we stoop to the lowest commercial level to use women's bodies to sell soap," Banks said.

SHE ALSO said she was upset about an advertisement for nurses serving in the Navy.

"The ad says `Our nurses can go farther.' That's a bit much," Banks said. "I can see the financial advantage of advertising but it seems we should be able to pay for (the timetable) ourselves."

KU started allowing advertisements in the timetable beginning in the summer of 1989, when it contracted American Passages to print the guide.

American Passages, a company that prints timetables for more than 300 colleges and universities, subsidizes printing costs by selling advertising. Gary Thompson, director of student records, today said KU has reduced its timetable printing costs by 50 percent by contracting with American Passages.

Before the switch to advertising, KU spent about $15,000 to $20,000 to print the timetable, Thompson said.

Mike Schreiner, student body president, who voted against the no-advertising recommendation, said savings from the reduced cost of printing could be used for needed student services, but he said advertisements should be more carefully reviewed.

THOMPSON said KU has the right to reject any advertisements submitted by American Passages. He said several guidelines have been established for review.

For example, advertising is rejected for alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, services promoting improved performance on standardized tests, services offering the research or writing of academic papers, all forms of birth control products, services or devices for the testing of pregnancy and services offering the search for eligible financial aid services.

Advertising promoting responsible sexual practices may be conditionally accepted if a specific brand of product is not indicated, and advertisements for drinking establishments also may be conditionally accepted, Thompson said.

He said advertising that conflicts with KU's goals of affirmative action and equal opportunity and that promotes irresponsible behavior also are rejected.

THOMPSON said the ad that Banks complained about would fall under the affirmative action guideline. He said the committee that reviews commercial advertising debated about the appropriateness of the ad.

"It was a judgment call," Thompson said, adding that the committee has rejected about 25 percent of the advertisements from American Passages.

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