- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 21, 2004

ASSOCIATED PRESS

CRETE, Neb. - A private college raised eyebrows with a recruiting postcard that showed a man surrounded by women and said students have the opportunity to “play the field.”

Doane College sent the cartoon postcard this month to about 13,500 prospective students in California. After receiving criticism, the college later announced that it was discontinuing the card.

“Doane College further expresses its regret if anyone associated with the college or potential applicants were in any way offended by the postcard’s content,” the college said in a statement.

One frame showed a student playing football for the Doane Tigers, with the caption: “Finally, a place where he could work toward the career of his choice. And also play the field.”

The next frame showed him talking to a group of attractive women and was captioned: “And play the field some more.”

Some faculty members said the postcards objectified women and could lead prospective students to get the wrong idea about the four-year, liberal-arts college affiliated with the United Church of Christ.

The timing for the postcard also was troubling to some. Doane football player Alan Branting, 19, has been suspended and is awaiting trial on a charge of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in May.

Administrators at first defended the innuendo as harmless. The phrase “play the field” means to explore a variety of options, in relationships and other aspects of life, said J.S. Engebretson, the college’s executive director of communications and marketing.

However, Christy Harge-sheimer, an assistant professor of Spanish, said some of her students associated the phrase with sexual promiscuity.

“My concern is that it might attract the wrong sort of student,” she said. “And it would also repel the students that we might be interested in.”

Doane needed an edgy campaign to reach its target audience, said Dan Kunzman, vice president of admissions.

“We had to get a little out of the box to catch their attention, to maybe get them to realize that the state of Nebraska isn’t a 300-mile cornfield,” Mr. Kunzman said.

Doane’s campus in Crete, about 25 miles southwest of Lincoln, has about 1,010 students, plus 1,000 graduate students there and at other locations.

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