Censors in Utah... not against us this time.

Utah strikes again. Some journalism seniors hid words for male and female genitalia in their final issue of the Daily Chronicle at the University of Utah. Now the university is threatening to withhold their diplomas.

I'm torn. They finished their degree work, they earned their diplomas, they have a right to graduate and the university should not try to censor them. However, this is the sort of crap I'd expect of high schoolers, not college students about to graduate.

Yes, we've all done the parody issue; I was even involved in one, peripherally. But that's what you do for your April 1 edition, and it should be labeled as such. Our story that aliens kidnapped the rodeo team was clearly satire. This was in a legitimate issue, and of utterly puerile "humor."

 The Student Press Law Center is taking up their cause, along with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. And rightly so. Under no circumstances should these students be denied diplomas and the university can go... reread the First Amendment.

But the students will have a harsh awakening in the real world. Personally, I wouldn't hire anyone who participated in this stunt. It shows a lack of maturity and respect for the news product that I don't want in my newsroom.

Note: My opinions are, of course, my own and not those of the News-Democrat, the Society of Professional Journalists or the National Ethics Commission. Duh.