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In the wake of a college decision to suspend publication of a campus newspaper, student publications at Georgetown University are demanding a revision of the school's rules on political advertising.
The controversy arose last week when Georgetown Dean of Student Affairs Jack DeGioia forced the student newspaper The Hoya to cancel its Friday issue because it contained an advertisement urging students to support abortion rights.
"Your Government Is Plotting to Take Away Women's Right to Abortion...Again," the ad read. "Only You Can Stop Them!"
Georgetown spokesperson Gary L. Krull said the ad conflicted with a standing policy at the Roman Catholic university, which explicitly bans pro-choice ads in student publications.
The Hoya, which publishes twice a week, is heavily subsidized by the college, but controls its own editorial policy.
Editors of The Hoya said the ad was not a promotion for an abortion service or clinic but a form of political speech. Such statements are protected under university policy, they said.
"It is not an abortion issue; it is a free speech issue," said Laura G. Wangenheim, co-news editor of The Voice, a weekly paper at Georgetown.
To protest the move, editors of The Hoya and The Voice have suspended publication indefinitely.
And four members of The Hoya's editorial board met with DeGioia yesterday to discuss the university's advertising policy, said Chris D. Brown, one of the paper's editors. DeGioia agreed to grant the student publications free reign in terms of advertising--at least until the university revamps its policy, Brown said.
"It looks like we got what we wanted, and we will come out on Tuesday," Brown said.
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