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Nude photos in ECU student magazine raise eyebrows

Posted December 13, 2012

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— A student-run arts magazine at East Carolina University is raising eyebrows over its decision to publish nude photos in its latest issue.

The student-fee-funded Expressions printed six full-page photos, some of full-frontal nudity, as part of its Dec. 6 issue of stories, essays artwork and poems exploring the theme "Hidden in Plain Sight."

The photos depict a man and a woman showing what the photographer describes as an unattractive "mark" that's "representative of those things people keep hidden every day."

"The goal of this project was to expose the societal fear of vulnerability hiding in plain sight," an explanation accompanying the photos reads. "People in American society cover their natural appearance with clothes, accessories and make-up. By removing those items, complete and natural beauty remains."

The magazine's general manager, sophomore Micah Lockhart, said the decision to include the images in the latest issue was the result of exhaustive discussion with faculty advisors.

"We wanted to create this sort-of molded element that all attributed to one idea," he said. "If you disagree with me, let's have a conversation. I didn't do this for any – there was no mal-intent. I did this for an artistic purpose to show something to illustrate an idea."

Expressions magazine Nude photos in ECU student magazine raise eyebrows

Virginia Hardy, vice chancellor of student affairs, said in a statement Thursday that ECU supports "the intellectual freedom of our students" and says measures were taken in the magazine to alert readers about the nature of the photos.

"In this instance, our Expressions staff and advisors went through a broad, rigorous and clearly defined decision process," Hardy said. "They used specific criteria to make an informed decision. As part of that process, students and staff decided to place multiple warnings in the publication to alert readers about the content."

“We understand people view material including human nudity in widely varied ways, and that might be the case with this issue of Expressions," she continued. "Some will view the content in the context of art, and others may not."

Student opinion is mixed, and it's ignited a debate over freedom of speech.

"It's like pornography, pretty much," first-year student Kayleigh Fadero said.

"I think students should be able to publish whatever they want to publish," sophomore Blake Osborn said.

Nudity in student-run publications isn't new.

Last November, the university's newspaper, "The East Carolinian" ran on its front page an uncensored photo of a streaker at a Pirates football game.

The university fired its student media faculty adviser two months later.

While not addressing the newspaper photo, the university said Thursday that the photos in Expressions are different, because of the subject matter.

"The Expressions staff believes when this section is viewed in context of theme and with the written supporting pieces that this is tastefully and artfully presented," the university said in a statement.

74 Comments

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  • beef Dec 18, 1:40 p.m.

    "Nude photos in ECU student magazine raise eyebrows"

    Among other things.

  • RM24 Dec 14, 12:48 p.m.

    LOL. I guess when someone hits too close to home, you have to change the topic. Good luck with your therapy!

    Praying for you.
    immaannoid

    No see you attack. I attack. However I am the one against 18yr old kids nude in magazines. I wouldn't be happy if a daughter was asked "to pose nude for a school project, by a school funded paper". Sorry you feel so bad for me.

  • immaannoid Dec 14, 12:18 p.m.

    "So I'm guessin your all for sending naked pics by text also then? And if 16 or 17 year olds viewing doesn't bother you where do you draw the line? And I'm assuming your still registered by the state and have to stay away from children and schools?"

    No, I'm for throwing Red Herrings out there so you can change the topic from your hangup with the human body to accusing someone of being a sexual predator.

    LOL. I guess when someone hits too close to home, you have to change the topic. Good luck with your therapy!

    Praying for you.

  • seankelly15 Dec 14, 11:52 a.m.

    rossfranco - "You should read some of the Draconian speech codes on college campuses. Making sure that no one is ever offended puts a chill on free speech. Go to www.thefire.org to educate yourself."

    Two points.... first, what you and your silly little website are calling "draconian speech codes" is just so much right-wing rhetoric about the right to be offensive in speech. Second, your comment dealt with "pro-traditional family or anti-illegal immigration article(s)" - where in your website is this covered? Or, do you mean that you want to be able to make derogatory comments about gays and women and the race and culture of illegal immigrants while offering intelligent discourse? Spare me your homophobic, racist chauvinistic opinions; your right to be offensive ends at another's ears or eyes.

  • Pirate01 Dec 14, 11:46 a.m.

    The problem is that this magazine it accessible by children. It is supplied to some local stores and there are tons of elementary and middle school groups that travel to the campus everyday for various events. Since children can get their hands on it if you are going to include nudity it should be handled like other magazines that include nudity. Restricted access and in a plastic cover that clearly indentifies its content.

  • avrecon Dec 14, 11:11 a.m.

    If this happened in Chapel Hill it would be considered art, and would have never been a story on WRAL.

  • BuglessDuster Dec 14, 11:05 a.m.

    rossfranco - 'I'd be willing to bet that her stance would be different if there was a pro-traditional family or anti-illegal immigration article in the publication."

    "I will take that bet... I could use some easy money."

    You should read some of the Draconian speech codes on college campuses. Making sure that no one is ever offended puts a chill on free speech. Go to www.thefire.org to educate yourself.

  • HelmutNewton Dec 14, 10:58 a.m.

    Seriously, who cares? With all of the problems that we face, some people are worried about THIS!?!

  • hatchski Dec 14, 10:53 a.m.

    You do realize that former Wellesley student Hillary Rodham Clinton had nude pictures taken for a study when she was a student. Nudity on college campuses is no big deal. Just to the haters.

  • PiratePhish Dec 14, 10:46 a.m.

    RM24, obviously, you have not been to a lot of parties recently at NC State. The sororities at State seem like they would be nice ladies, but when it comes down to it, they are mostly trashy girls that dress nice. If this article was on UNC, there would not be such an upheaval & considered art.

    WRAL, don't you have anything better to report about? You have gone downhill since the days of Charlie Gaddy & only report tragedy & negative news, especially when it comes to East Carolina. You only like to report on them when it is something that is considered bad in the public eye, but seem to never report on the positives things that are be accomplished at the school.

    Typical Raleigh & ACC mentality that you can only do good.

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