Kristina Helfer’s “Mounting Nittany” sex column used to run every Thursday in Penn State’s Daily Collegian — typical fare: “Let’s talk sex, hugs and handjobs” — but it’s been MIA for several weeks now. The last “Mounting” was published Nov. 3; Jerry Sandusky was arrested Nov. 5. Helfer didn’t respond to my email, so I called the Collegian newsroom. A man who identified himself as “a campus editor” linked the column’s disappearance to the Sandusky scandal. He transferred me to the managing editor, and she said she couldn’t discuss this because only the editor-in-chief is allowed to speak to the media. (When did college newsrooms become so bureaucratic?) I’ll post top editor Lexi Belculfine’s email when it arrives.
UPDATE: Belculfine writes:
Initially, I wouldn’t call the absence of Mounting Nittany a decision. During the week of Monday, Nov. 7, the paper — and opinions page — evolved as the story did, often by the second.
Mounting Nittany would have ran in the Nov. 10, 2011 issue of The Daily Collegian. This was the edition that chronicled the removal of former Penn State President Graham Spanier and former football coach Joe Paterno. We ran three opinons pages that day — as opposed to our typical one. One was a full page editorial and two were filled with letters to the editor, reflecting the influx of community input the paper was receiving.
In the week that followed, we offered Kristina Helfer the opportunity to write a sex column on the scandal or sexual assault, but she decided that based on the tone of the previous columns that it would not be “respectful to those who have been affected by sexual assault” to write the column that week. Instead, we ran another columnist’s piece on the importance of not being a passive bystander.
Looking forward, based on the current situation and mood at Penn State, we have decided to remove the column for the time being.