Funding returned to Indiana college magazine; editors told to be “gentlemanly”

A conservative magazine at WabashCollege lost its funding and its standing as a recognized student organizationafter the student senate said its content was “ungentlemanly.” Now, the senatehas agreed to re-instate the magazine’s funding, which was sought by studenteditors and First Amendment advocates.

The Wabash Commentary wasstill placed on probation during the Dec. 10 senate meeting, and its editorshave promised to publish an apology in the next edition.

Among other stories,the student senate had been particularly irate about The Commentary’smention in its October/November 2002 issue that a professor’s wife was “fat andugly.” The senate said the comments violated the all-male school’s gentleman’srule, which requires students to act as “gentlemen” on and off campus.

Ina Nov. 12 meeting, the senate voted overwhelmingly to rescind the publication’s$1,250 per semester allocation of mandatory student fees and its student grouprecognition, which effectively limited the editors’ access to school buildingsand equipment.

“The funding that we give out is based on our behavior asstudents here on campus,” said Aaron Denman, a member of the Wabash studentsenate, in a article. “The gentleman rule is something we highlyregard and if they’re not going to obey that rule then I think as a body we canrestrict their funding for that.”

Commentary editors protested thesenate’s decision but had little recourse because private schools are notlimited by the First Amendment, said editor Sean Salai.

Commentarystaff members say the senate has tried before to silence the magazine forits right-wing perspective. Since receiving official recognition in 1994, theCommentary has survived senate attempts in 1995, 1998 and 2001 to revokeits student fee allocation, they said.

“Now, that’s the slippery slopewe’re worried about. How does the senate oversee gentlemanly content on campus?”Salai said in the WishTV8 story.

Editors say without the student feefunding they would have had to drop production from six issues a year tofour.