Florida university censors magazine for Jay Leno joke

FLORIDA — Jay Leno may be a popular late night comedian and talk show host, but school officials at Stetson University do not find his jokes very funny — at least in print.

University officials banned a satirical student publication, Common Sense, from being distributed in October because the magazine quoted a joke Jay Leno made about Mexicans, and for running a picture of a dorm-room window that displayed a rainbow flag with a question mark superimposed over it, said the magazine’s Editor in Chief Frank Ganz.

But in November, the university bowed to public pressure and publicity and allowed the second issue of the magazine to be distributed, Ganz said.

”The original idea was to promote discussion about it, we didn’t even make a statement,” Ganz said.

The Stetson senior started the publication along with three other students and their first issue went to press in October of 2005. They had only distributed 40 of the 500 copies of the paper when Dean of Students Michelle Espinosa notified Ganz that they had broken Stetson policy by failing to go through prior review for the paper. Ganz later received a letter from Senior Vice President James Beasley informing him that they were not to distribute the paper on or off campus, he said.

”They didn’t allow the students to have the opportunity to say whether or not they thought it was appropriate for campus,” Ganz said. ”So they basically decided for the students what they should or should not read on campus.”

The letter, dated Oct. 31, said the university took issue with the fact that the paper used the university’s trademark and that the ”publication lacks a clear indication that