Letter from the Editor

Last week, the Vanguard published a news piece covering a $750,000 grant awarded to a Portland State professor for the development of sexual assault prevention programs.

This coverage coincided with a paid advertisement from Spyce Gentleman’s Club–an ad campaign to which we currently uphold our contractual obligation. The ad appeared on an entirely separate page and section of the print issue–a conscious and ongoing standard we maintain in order to keep our news coverage separate from the messages of our paid advertisers.

As with nearly all media publications, The Vanguard relies on revenue from paid advertisements in order to keep the organization afloat. Without this revenue, we would not function to fulfill our mission of providing the PSU community with timely, accurate, comprehensive and critical content while upholding high journalistic standards.

As always, the opinions of our paid advertisers are not those of the Vanguard’s editorial staff and the Vanguard’s content does not represent the opinions of advertisers.

That said, we recognize the Vanguard’s role and responsibility to be accountable for the messages we deliver to our readers.

As a member of an editorial staff comprised mostly of women, I can assure the authors of these letters and our overall community of readers that the Vanguard staff prioritizes women’s issues–including the safety and security of the community of which we are all active participants.

Regardless of gender representation within our staff, we uphold a responsibility to our students and community to keep their best interests in mind. This includes being inclusive and refraining from stifling opinions and perspectives on all sides. We have historically and consistently published content related to the safety of our community in regard to sexual assault, victimization and access to resources.

I think it’s very important to give credit to, respect and empower the women of the community we represent. I strongly believe in the intelligence, self-control and autonomy of women to make decisions regarding their own bodies. The decision to work within various aspects of the sex industry can and should be one that is free of shame, abuse, coercion or guilt.

Many organizations within Portland work toward the mission of sex positivity and the mission to remove negative stigmas associated with sex workers. While I cannot personally speak to the working environment at this specific establishment, the ad in question does, in fact, emphasize the safety of its workers on two separate occasions. If any readers are aware of Portland establishments demonstrating troubling behavior regarding safety or abuse, the Vanguard team is happy to open an investigative door to the matter.

Concerns for the safety and empowerment of our community of women is of utmost importance. I am proud to be part of a community that actively advocates for this.

This is not a cut and dry issue. I will always welcome input from our readers regarding our content and messages conveyed by this student-run and student-representing publication. I want to use this as an opportunity to open a dialogue with our community of readers. We welcome any further input on this subject.

Colleen Leary
PSU Vanguard Editor In Chief

To see the letters this is in response to, click here and here.