BOSTON (AP) — The editor of Boston University's independent student newspaper stepped down yesterday after an April Fools' edition that appeared to mock rape and drug crimes.
Under the spoof banner "The Disney Free Press," one story reported the arrests of "seven frat dwarves" for allegedly drugging and raping a female known as the "fairest of them all."
Chelsea Diana, the sophomore journalism major who edited The Daily Free Press, apologized Monday in a letter that called the edition "callous and ignorant." She declined to comment further yesterday, when the newspaper's board of directors asked for and got her resignation.
The newspaper also had a story about Cinderella's prostitution arrest, and another reporting that a woman named Alice had bought LSD from the "Lost Boys fraternity."
The mock edition followed the recent arrests of two of the school's male hockey players on sex-related charges and was published three days after a campus rally against sexual violence.
Diana's apology said that while the stories were meant as jokes, "simply writing them perpetuated rape culture."
In December, police arrested a Boston University hockey player who allegedly forced his way into a female student's dorm room and groped her.
In February, authorities arrested a different player they accused of raping a female student. Both pleaded not guilty, and the arrests sparked the university to form a task force to investigate the hockey team's "culture and climate."
The task force won't be expanded because of the newspaper edition, and administration officials won't seek to stop the paper's circulation on campus, school spokesman Colin Riley said.
"It's a student publication totally independent from the university. We've expressed our concern that it wasn't the best action," Riley said.
The newspaper is a nonprofit that doesn't get tuition dollars but has benefited from advertising bought by the private university.
Annie Ropeik, the 21-year-old senior who leads the newspaper's board, said spoof editions are an annual tradition.
"I can't tell you that Chelsea was solely responsible, but as editor in chief it is her responsibility of what to run," Ropeik said, adding that no more resignations were planned.
Jimmy Czodli, president of the university's Interfraternity Council, said the joke edition "perpetuated negative stereotypes that many of us have worked our entire college careers to tear down." He added that the editor's resignation and board apology were helping repair the damage.
Howard Male, the student body president, said the spoof drew criticism at Monday's student senate meeting.
"We really should be treating our fellow students with respect and keeping in mind ... that sexual assaults have touched the lives of many of our students," he said Tuesday.