Calender sales end early at WWU

Turns out sex doesn’t sell at Western Washington University in Bellingham. Not for now, anyway.

Creators and fans of a swimsuit calendar featuring female WWU students will appeal the school’s decision to forbid its sale on vendor’s row, a prominent sales area on campus, after the school says it received complaints that the calendar objectifies women.

WWU graduate and calendar creator Jason La Baw said he sold the 2007-08 Women of Western calendar on campus during the spring quarter but was told this month he could no longer sell at the school after only a few days of business.

“I asked why and they said it doesn’t fit within university’s mission statement,” La Baw said, noting that the choice came during the national banned book week. “My response to that was, ‘How does selling hot dogs fit within the university mission statement?'”

Jim Schuster, director of Viking Union facilities, oversees vendors in the area. Schuster said several people verbally complained about the calendar to his office and to the office of the Vice President of Student Affairs, both this quarter and last. He said no written complaints were filed, and he could not recall how many people complained.

“Last year we (administrators) determined we did not wish this image to represent Western, when it appears Western is sponsoring or approving this,” Schuster said. “We’re not.”

Schuster said La Baw was allowed to sell the product this quarter on Oct. 3 and 4 because of a new employee’s oversight.

Sherry Mallory, special assistant to the vice president, said her office received verbal complaints about the calendar. The choice to remove it from campus, she said, lay primarily with Schuster and was based on the school’s “Sale of Goods and Services” policy.

The policy, which is open to interpretation by Viking Union administration, states that goods and services sold on campus “shall be consistent with the aims of the University, shall enhance the campus environment, and shall not interfere with the University’s normal operation.”

“We realized that this really doesn’t tie into enhancing the campus environment (like the food services do),” Mallory said.

Schuster said he seldom denies vendors but has done so in the past for those selling smoking paraphernalia or future services like credit cards and cellular phones.