Notre Dame may limit ads in student newspaper

Posted: Friday, October 13, 2000

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) -- A 1999 advertisement for a homosexual alumni organization could lead to a showdown over who controls future ads in the University of Notre Dame's student newspaper, the Observer.

Student editors contend the newspaper is independent so they can run whatever ads they want. ''They want to set advertising guidelines. What's next, editorial guidelines? I don't want to come anywhere near that fine line,'' says editor-in-chief Mike Connolly.

The Rev. Edward A. Malloy, president of the church-related university, wrote the editors last year that they should not run ads from outside groups that ''espouse positions contrary to the moral teaching of the Catholic Church.''

A committee Malloy appointed to consider advertising limits recently filed its report, but it has not yet been made public.

The university provides $6 per student from tuition for student subscriptions and rents the newspaper office space for $1 a year.

Mark Goodman of the Student Press Law Center in Arlington, Va., said truly independent student newspapers are rare but so are open considerations of censorship.

A similar issue has arisen at Viterbo University, a Catholic school in La Crosse, Wis., where students are protesting President William Medland's Oct. 6 decision to cancel a musical production, ''Splendora,'' about a man coming to terms with his homosexuality.

He acted after members of a local Catholic traditionalist group complained that the school should uphold church teachings.



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