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Spoof Student Paper Draws Criticism At UMass Lowell

This article is more than 11 years old.

The Connector, the independent student newspaper at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, typically ends the academic year with a spoof issue. This year's version went too far, say school administrators and many UMass Lowell students.

According to the Lowell Sun, Larry Siegel, the school's dean of students, said the administration is "extremely disappointed at this group of students who put out the paper."

The Sun's description of the issue:

Rife with profanity, it features a grotesque string of ribald tweets supposedly ripped from the actual Twitterverse, jokey items about gays, immigrants and race, a guide to the best brands of college booze, as well as an entire article filled with the excessive repetition of a derogatory term for a woman's anatomy, and many other words and phrases that cannot be reprinted here.

In a follow-up interview with us, Siegel said the Sun's portrayal of the issue is accurate.

To the Sun, the Connector's editor-in-chief apologized. "But it's just a joke paper," she said, "and it's not meant to be taken seriously."

Siegel told us that the paper's top two editors have since scheduled a meeting with him. He said he thinks their views have changed after receiving critical feedback from administrators and students. He said he thinks they want to figure out how to best communicate an apology to the school community.

Calls to the Connector were not immediately returned.

As of this writing, the newspaper's website is "currently undergoing scheduled maintenance" and its Twitter account last tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. Responding to a comment, its Facebook page conceded the spoof issue was "a bit extreme."

In a similar incident, last month the editor-in-chief of Boston University’s student newspaper resigned following the publication of an April Fools’ Day spoof issue which, as the AP reported then, "made light of rape and drug use."

5/14 Update: Late Friday, the Connector's editor-in-chief issued a formal apology.

This program aired on May 11, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

Benjamin Swasey Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.



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