Faculty meets to discuss concerns with Ethos issue

Elizabeth Holmgren

Ethos Magazine came under university scrutiny after its “Sex and Love Issue” raised faculty concerns over the content and resulted in two separate meetings with university adminstration.

Concerns were brought to light after Jim McElroy and Brad Shrader, both university professors of management, sent a letter expressing their concern about the “Sex and Love Issue” to ISU President Steven Leath.

The meetings with administration were on April 20 and 23.

The first meeting discussed the content of the letter. Tom Hill, vice president of student affairs, Shrader, McElroy and Dennis Chamberlin, adviser of Ethos magazine and Greenlee associate professor, were all in attendance. The student editors of Ethos were not involved.

“The meeting was simply a followup to a letter that was sent to the president expressing concerns. These concerns dealt with views expressed about the issue of Ethos,” Hill said.

Hill explained that during the meeting, the professors who complained about the “Sex and Love Issue” agreed to converse with the students of Ethos magazine themselves.

“The clear outcome is to have the faculty share their views with the students. It will give [the students] an opportunity to hear from someone who may have different perspectives,” Hill said.

Corrin Hatala, editor-in-chief of Ethos, was informed about the complaints through Chamberlin.

“We had certainly anticipated that some people would not be happy with the content of the magazine, so we weren’t necessarily surprised about the complaints,” Hatala said.

In the second meeting, student representatives of Ethos were included. The purpose of the meeting was to provide a setting for the communication of concerns and thoughts held among the faculty and students involved.

Ethos’ representatives included John Lonsdale, managing editor, Devon O’Brien, next year’s editor-in-chief, and Hatala.

“[We] were in attendance mainly to discuss and hear concerns from people, specifically professors, who held different views on the [‘Sex and Love’] issue than what was our intention,” Hatala said.

Hatala understood that the meeting was not for the purpose of making accusations, but rather so that concerns could be explained and expressed.

“I wouldn’t characterize the meeting as inherently polarized or opposed. I think it was more to try to better understand differing viewpoints. I don’t believe anyone at the meeting, ourselves included, was necessarily looking for resolution. We were more focused on listening and offering our thought process, as it related to the issue,” Hatala said.

Shrader and McElroy declined to comment on their personal concerns with the issue.

Hill made it clear that the purpose of the meeting was not to impose consequences or changes.

“There were no consequences. That was never the purpose,” Hill said. “[Ethos] can decide what to do, if anything.”

Hatala said the meeting proved to be a helpful experience.

“I think the meeting was positive because it didn’t devolve into accusations or offerings of right or wrong,” Hatala said. “I believe it was a positive experience for all of the involved parties because discussion provokes additional thoughts for future issues and outlines possible ways to improve or things to consider.”

Hill was also pleased with the meeting, saying the face-to-face interaction was necessary.

“There is definitely something to be said when people can sit down and exchange perspectives and share ideas, even more so, an actual human exchange,” Hill said.

Shrader and McElroy declined to comment on the precedings of the meeting.

Hill said no more meetings of this kind will be had to discuss the “Sex and Love Issue.”

Hatala said the “Sex and Love Issue” arose after a change in the organization of the magazine was made.

“This year, we chose to do themes, rather than our normal, more general issues. We took the departments that are normally in the magazine and made them into our themes. Since we normally have a department about sex or relationships, we made that an issue,” Hatala said.

Future plans for the magazine remain uncertain at this time. However, the topic of sex and love will not be absent, Hatala said.

“I doubt if the publication board for next year plans to do themed issues again, but I would be very surprised if they did not include our regular sex/relationships department in upcoming magazines,” Hatala said.