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Sexual Discourse: A tumultuous ride

Students weigh in on SPM's controversial weekly column

 by Erika Wurst  published on Thursday, April 28, 2005

Marketing junior Travis Murphy. 
/issues/arts/693128
Danielle Peterson / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
Marketing junior Travis Murphy.
 
English junior Julie Kranzberg./issues/arts/693128
Danielle Peterson / STATE PRESS MAGAZINE
English junior Julie Kranzberg.
 

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SPM has been running this column, "Sexual discourse," for the past four months.

The topics have included everything from oral sex and novelty condoms to rape prevention and abstinence-only education.

During its four-month run, we feel "Sexual discourse" has served our readers for its informational and entertainment value.

And although we have received two e-mails from students in four months complaining about the column, most of the student feedback has been positive. Some have even told us it's the only reason they pick up the magazine.

But running "Sexual discourse" every month has been a battle.

One state representative, Mark Anderson, R-Mesa, wrote a letter to ASU President Michael Crow asking him to "reign in" SPM. Another, Rep. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, actually threatened to cut funding from the paper for running "sex surveys," even though ASU only pays 10 percent of what it takes to keep the paper afloat.

But we kept running the column for its immense popularity among students and because it's within our First Amendment rights.

This issue of SPM is the last for this semester, and therefore, this likely is the last "Sexual discourse." For this installment, we talked to two ASU students to find out what they think of the column and if they ever thought it went too far.

By the way, thanks to everyone who helped make this column possible by opening up about some very private issues, and thanks to you for reading. It's been a great semester.

Who: English literature junior Julie Kranzberg
Where: Sitting with the Snow Devils by the MU

SPM: What are your opinions on sex in the media?

Kranzberg: I think sex in the media is never going to go away. Sex is a part of life and there's no reason it should be censored. Educational aspects of sex should also be there. It helps people make good decisions in their own sex lives.

SPM: Have you read "Sexual discourse" throughout this semester?

Kranzberg: Every week.

SPM: What did you think about the column and its issues?

Kranzberg: As a student, I think it's awesome. It was a good idea. I love having other opinions on sex from ASU students.

SPM: Why do you think so much controversy has surrounded this column and other sexual topics in student papers?

Kranzberg: Honestly, I think it's just right-wing conservatives that run this state. They can't handle what's out there. Censoring is not going to help it and make it go away. A lot of it has to do with religion and politics. Religious views shouldn't be brought into the way a university is run.

SPM: How important do you think sex issues are in the lives of college students?

Kranzberg: I think it is extremely important. The majority of students have sex, a lot. As long as they know how to protect themselves, everyone will have a better sex life.

SPM: Have you learned anything from the column?

Kranzberg: As far as basic knowledge, I didn't hear anything I didn't already know, although I'm sure a lot of people did. Listening to the answers that other students gave, I learned a lot about what other students think about sex, and that was cool.

SPM: Do you think the column should continue next semester?

Kranzberg: I think they should definitely keep running it. I'd like to see it delve deeper and bring up more issues like homosexuality or masturbation.

Who: Marketing junior Travis Murphy
Where: Hanging at the MU fountain

SPM: What are your opinions on sex in the media?

Murphy: I think personally that the U.S. tries to censor too much. I just got back from Australia and they drop the F-bomb on cable and show boobs. I think kids there aren't worse off than Americans.

SPM: Have you read "Sexual discourse" throughout this semester?

Murphy: Yeah, sometimes. I definitely hear about it, though.

SPM: What did you think about the column and its issues?

Murphy: From reading, I think the way people answer some of the questions isn't a shock. If old people read the answers though, they might think, "What's wrong with college students?"

SPM: Why do you think so much controversy has surrounded this column and other sexual topics in student papers?

Murphy: That's a good question. I don't' think that students find it to be a controversy. A lot of people are trying to take the role as a parental figure. It depends on who you ask, though. There are a lot of people who wouldn't find it controversial. I just think it's a culture clash.

SPM: How important do you think sex issues are in the lives of college students?

Murphy: I think sex obviously is an issue. I think the focus should be on safe sex. There are so many issues we shouldn't try and hide. Sex is a big part of college these days, whether or not an older generation wants to acknowledge that.

SPM: Have you learned anything from the column?

Murphy: Yeah, it has made me a little more hesitant to "commit sexually" to a girl. Reading and seeing how willing they are to jump in bed, well, it's brought me awareness.

Reach the reporter at erika.wurst@asu.edu.



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