Playboy recruitment prompts controversy

July 24, 2013, 8:00 p.m.

An effort to recruit Stanford community members for a Playboy photo shoot met with controversy and backlash yesterday, amidst concerns over the inappropriate use of University resources and the apparent focus of solicitation on communities of color.

According to an email sent late Tuesday evening to mailing lists predominantly used by black, Hispanic and Caribbean students, Playboy planned to table outside the CoHo on Wednesday afternoon, seeking three Stanford affiliates to model for a Pac-12 issue. Those selected would be paid $500 to pose, or $1000 for posing topless.

Playboy representatives failed to appear outside the CoHo at the scheduled time on Wednesday afternoon.

Such modeling has a history at Stanford, with one member of the diaspora mailing list recalling a similar incident in 2005. According to The Unofficial Stanford Blog, the practice persisted through 2010.

However, some students expressed concerns about the practice on University mailing lists, alleging that it encouraged sexual objectification and – in the absence of prior written permission — violated University copyright.

“She is wearing Stanford gear. She’s wearing my school gear. That name on her body is a name I’m associated with and am proud to be part of,” said Dilia Olivo ’15. “I’m just really surprised that the school let it happen every year.”

Senior Director for Strategic Communications Brad Hayward ’92 disputed the concept that the University had any awareness of Playboy’s recruitment efforts.

“Tabling by organizations is typically directed to White Plaza, and an application and approval from the university are needed for an organization to table there,” Hayward wrote in a statement to The Daily. “We are not aware of any application or approval that has occurred in this case.”

As students continued to express concerns via mailing lists throughout Wednesday, El Centro Chicano Associate Director Elvira Prieto removed the original sender from the comunidad mailing list, citing “inappropriate and disrespectful” conduct in an email to the list.

Prieto did not respond to requests for further comment.

This post will be updated.

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