On November 3rd, the Daily Collegian, Penn State’s award-winning, independently run student newspaper, published its “Mounting Nittany” sex column, like it does every Thursday.
The piece, titled “Hook ups create double standard,” was about how females on campus were judged more harshly for having casual hookups than their male counterparts. It was what the weekly column normally does, which is highlight an on-campus issue, and give it a not-so-serious slant (an example of the not-so-serious: an article titled “Let’s talk sex, hugs and handjobs,” which talked about… sex, hugs, and handjobs). It’s normal sex in college stuff: the clumsiness of it, the excitement of it, and everything in between.
On November 5th, Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was charged with 40 counts of sexually abusing children, and a grand jury report was released reporting, in graphic detail, all of the things he was accused of doing.
Jim Romenesko points out that, since then, no new “Mounting Nittany” columns have been released, and
the Mounting Nittany Twitter account hasn’t been heard from (UPDATE: Collegian top editor Lexi Belculfine informed us, via email, that that was a parody Twitter account).
In a letter to Romenesko, Belculfine explained that the decision to stop “Mounting Nittany” wasn’t a formal one, at least at first. The next installment of the column would have run on November 10th, which was the issue after Joe Paterno’s firing. Not surprisingly, the Collegian decided to focus on that, and put off “Mounting Nittany” until the next week.
Belculfine then offered the column’s author, Kristina Helfer, an opportunity to write it again. She declined, citing the tone of her previous pieces and the fact that it wouldn’t be “respectful to those who have been affected by sexual assault.” Since then, the paper has decided to shelve “Mounting Nittany” indefinitely.