The University of North Dakota student newspaper, the Dakota Student, printed an opinion piece in the Feb. 11 issue by one of its writers titled “Halftime Performance or Pornography?”
The article has since been removed from the paper’s website. One paragraph read, “We wonder why there is so much rape and sex trafficking going on nowadays or why dating relationships are revolving around sex. Well, when we decrease the values of our bodies by wearing few clothes and dancing inappropriately, we are telling society that it is acceptable to view women as just a piece of meat, rather than a heart and soul.”
This was met with disapproval from students at the university for alleged victim-blaming. On Feb. 20, the Dakota Student Editor-In-Chief Madison Feltman posted an apology for the piece on behalf of the paper as a whole. An apology from the writer herself was included in the same post, although her name was not included. In that apology, the writer stated she was not trying to degrade women or victim-blame anyone and admitted that her wording about rape and sex trafficking was inappropriate, clarifying that she only meant to discuss “over-sexualization and the toll it takes on relationships, children, and humans in general.”
For the writer to apologize is reasonable, and that’s up to her to clarify exactly what she meant by her writing. However, for the paper as a whole to apologize is absurd. Opinion pieces don’t necessarily reflect the opinion of the entire editorial board. A clarification of that would be important, but to apologize for printing an opinion that is clearly marked as such isn’t necessary.
It’s important that newspapers give a platform for different ideas. People in college are adults. We don’t need to be shielded from hurtful opinions. We should confront them and discuss them.