University pulls strip joint recruitment ad from directory

By CHARLEY GILLESPIE, Associated Press Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Ohio State University says it may change the way it reviews advertisements after an ad recruiting strippers for a nightclub appeared in a faculty and staff directory.

The full-page ad bought by Dockside Dolls had a tab that protruded from the directory that read "Need Tuition?" The ad featured a photo of woman's face with words, "Dockside Dolls gentleman's club is looking for you," and a phone number for the club.

The university tore the ad from 10,700 directories this week, but not before 2,300 were delivered to faculty and staff. The ad also was canceled for a student directory not assembled yet.

"The ad -- which was already approved -- totally crossed the line," university spokeswoman Elizabeth Conlisk said.

"We felt that it invited students to obtain financial support for tuition in a manner that is totally inconsistent with the education mission of the university," she said.

Dockside Dolls management said pulling the ad was censorship.

"These people OK'd the ad and now that the phone book is out they had their staff tearing out my pages," said Johnny Basinger, director of operation for the Aberdeen, N.C.-based company, which has 12 clubs. "We are just running an employment ad."

About half of the employees at the Columbus club are college students, and some earn $500 to $2,000 a night, Basinger said.

The directories, which are sold for $10 each, are made at no cost to the university each year by Chapel Hill, N.C.-based University Directories. The company sells the advertising space, but the ads must be approved by the university, Conlisk said.

A spokesman for University Directories would not comment Wednesday.

Conlisk said if the ad had been reviewed more carefully, it would not have been approved.

"This is a great opportunity to establish an advertising standards committee that will set guidelines that will be followed by any university-sanctioned advertisement," she said. "We are in the process of establishing that."

The $8,000 Dockside Dolls paid for the advertisement to appear in both directories will be returned, Conlisk said.

The university has recommended the Central Ohio Transit Authority be provided a full-page ad in the upcoming student directory because it had a quarter-page ad on the backside of the page that was pulled.

Duke and North Carolina universities recently refused to run similar ads in their directories, Basinger said.

"When University Directories sold me the ad I told them I ran into problems with this ad with Duke and North Carolina and they said 'no problem,'" he said.

(Copyright 2002 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)