North Texas Daily

Doing the Honors

Doing the Honors

February 14
21:55 2013
James Rambin / Views Editor

When you make a huge mistake in public, you probably try to fix it as fast as you can.

When UNT makes a huge mistake in public, they pretend it wasn’t a mistake at all. At least that’s the impression I’m getting after what happened yesterday.

If you’re a member of UNT’s Honors College, you’re probably already familiar with the emails they send out announcing special events and academic opportunities.

I get a couple every week, but I’ve never seen one quite like the disaster that hit my inbox yesterday.

The email invited Honors students to enjoy tea and light refreshments with visiting guest speaker and Princeton professor of English Daphne Brooks. Professor Brooks is a leading scholar in feminist, African-American and gender studies.

Things went downhill when I took a closer look at the picture at the top of the email. It looks innocent at first glance, until you notice the logo in the bottom-right corner.

I’m hardly outing myself as a seasoned connoisseur of Internet pornography when I say that the logo for SuicideGirls.com is easy to spot.

It’s one of the most famous soft-core porn and modeling pages on the Web, featuring tattooed pin-up models in various states of undress.

And a picture from one of the website’s photo shoots is currently sitting a few inches away from the official UNT logo in this email.

That’s right: The UNT Honors College decided to represent Professor Brooks, who has authored entire books about the objectification of women, with a photo of a female model cribbed from a soft-core porn site that basically specializes in objectifying women.

I emailed Diana Dunklau, the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Honors College who sent out the email in the first place, and asked her if she knew the origins of the photo.

She responded that she “found nothing suggestive“ about the image, and generally tries to include pictures that “represent typical college students” and that she “was not aware” of SuicideGirls’ true content.

She said that she typically finds images for the Honors College’s emails using Google, and that “it was not my intention to offend anyone by using this photograph.”

You’ve got to give her some credit for sticking to her guns. I mean, I probably wouldn’t try to claim that a photo of a model represented “typical college students,” or admit that the Director of Marketing and Communications for an entire division of this university just grabs pictures off Google and shoots them out to the entire mailing list of more than 1,100 Honors students.

I’m willing to admit that this was probably an honest mistake. But when that mistake is discovered, the proper response is to admit it, take responsibility and move forward with the implication that you’ll be more careful in the future.

Unfortunately, Ms. Dunklau didn’t do that. And as an Honors student, I think that’s embarrassing for her, unprofessional for UNT and deeply disappointing for me.

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9 Comments

  1. Lolita
    Lolita February 14, 22:34

    Considering she probably has a lot of other work to do, finding pictures for these announcements Is probably the last thing on her mind.

    I think her reply seemed pretty innocent and standard. I doubt that there’s much she could do at this point anyway without drawing more attention.

    I didn’t notice the logo, and I just thought she looked like a college hipster drinking tea.

    Seems a little harsh. I have always found the Honors staff to be very kind and very concerned about the students’ well being.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Matt Kernan
    Matt Kernan February 14, 23:19

    I think you’re completely over-reacting, in terms of the content. The bigger problem I see is that it’s an unlicensed use of copyrighted material.

    Reply to this comment
  3. Richard Stutheit
    Richard Stutheit February 14, 23:47

    I think this is an over-reaction, but you’d think that they’d do done research before using a picture with a logo…

    Reply to this comment
  4. Dallas
    Dallas February 15, 00:54

    You should apologize for this and take it down. It’s the most skewed journalism I’ve ever seen, and an insult to a staff member who did nothing wrong.

    Reply to this comment
  5. Amy
    Amy February 15, 06:13

    It’s not an overreaction, it’s a reaction. It’s careless to just pick and choose from a search engine for an official email, and this is just one way in which it could go embarrassingly wrong. If an employee and a representative of this university is too busy to do a particular bit of work properly (especially one with possible legal ramifications, as has been pointed out) then she, or her office should find someone who has the time to do it.

    Reply to this comment
  6. H
    H February 15, 09:44

    Does anyone still have the email or a link to the image? Now I am curious.

    Reply to this comment
  7. Edward Ferguson
    Edward Ferguson February 15, 13:58

    She made a mistake. Back off the lady. Damn why are UNT kids so critical? This article is way too dramatic.

    Reply to this comment
  8. monte
    monte February 15, 19:46

    Did anyone else get curious and googled the woman in this article?

    http://i48.tinypic.com/29v1b4k.jpg

    Classy lady indeed! 😉

    Reply to this comment

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