University of Portsmouth Students’ Union naked calendar faces axe

AT ODDS Becky Gardner, women's officer at the University of Portsmouth, who has called for the calendar to be terminated and Stephen Dancey, athletics union executive chairman, who wants the calendar to continue.   Picture: Sarah Standing (113439-6737)

AT ODDS Becky Gardner, women's officer at the University of Portsmouth, who has called for the calendar to be terminated and Stephen Dancey, athletics union executive chairman, who wants the calendar to continue. Picture: Sarah Standing (113439-6737)

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A STUDENT naked calendar is facing the chop following complaints that unedited photos of girls were leaked onto a pornographic site.

And pictures showing the scantily clad young women – posing for charity – continue to be posted on internet forums without any mention of the context in which they have been taken.

The University of Portsmouth Students’ Union has called an emergency general meeting to vote on the future of the Athletics Union’s (AU) annual Naked Calendar next Tuesday.

It is the result of an official complaint made by the union’s women’s officer Becky Gardner, 20, who argues the calendar is exposing girls to ridicule and exploitation.

She said: ‘I appreciate this calendar is for charity but there are other fun ways to go about fundraising that don’t harm female students.

‘Many students have told me they are uncomfortable with the calendar and that girls have been put under pressure to get involved.

‘But the worst of it is images posted on pornographic sites with strangers making lewd and unpleasant comments.

‘I have spoken with 20 women who were devastated to see their unedited pictures online.

‘The comments ranged from teasing girls for their appearance to personal remarks about their bodies.

‘A very serious line has been crossed and I don’t believe the calendar should continue.’

Stephen Dancey, head of the AU’s executive committee, is fighting for the survival of the calendar which has raised £10,000 for charity since 2006.

He insists safeguards are now in place to protect female students, such as deleting all unedited photos and not placing any pictures online.

Stephen said: ‘Last year we had 150 women and 250 men volunteer for the calendar. No-one to my knowledge has ever been forced.

‘The people who volunteer understand it’s for charity.

‘It’s fun and shows you can be proactive in a light-hearted way and raise money for serious causes at the same time.’

This is not the first time the issue has arisen. In 2008 a complaint was made after the calendar pictures were posted on a pornographic site.

The student union at the time filed for breach of copyright but the images were only removed this year when the current sabbatical team took action.

Student Rachael Lloyd, 21, whose image was on the 2011 calendar’s front page representing the softball club said students should be warned.

She said: ‘My first shock was seeing my photo on the front cover – we weren’t told where it was going to end up or what it would look like.

‘I just did it for charity. No-one told us of the risks.

‘Now I’m worrying what my future employers will think.’

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