The 1970s was a wild ride for Auburn’s High School Relations Office.
First there was 1974 Glomerata. Copies of Auburn’s yearbook were customarily sent to every high school in the state; it couldn’t happen that year until pages 54 and 55 went under the scissors. Five years later, High School Relations censors were up against a similar issue, this time in the form of the detailed comic of campus life serving as Auburn’s recruitment poster, particularly the six bros scoping out an obviously bra-less coed.
Actually, despite not exactly aligning with messaging that might, say, boost female enrollment, it was, as the Plainsman noted, a fairly accurate depiction. Grading female passersby with actual scorecards wasn’t an uncommon practice on the concourse back in the day. (And let us not forget the A.U. Squirrel Club.) But that wasn’t the only scene that didn’t pass muster. There were the three identical Alpha Sigma Sigma (ASS) brothers. And finally, do bear witness to the response to Brother Jed. The concourse evangelist extraordinaire (listen to him here) made his first big play for student souls at Auburn that year, proclaiming that Jesus saves.
“Yeah, but does he write term papers?”
The thing was drawn — in full-color by the way, we just have the black and white — by former Plainsman cartoonist extraordinaire Jimmy Johnson, of current Arlo and Janis fame, and then working for University Relations. He had apparently done something similar for the Kansas State edition of Auburn Football Illustrated a couple of months earlier. University Relations thought it would make a good poster. He made some modifications; whether racier or tamer, we’re not sure.
The University Relations folks showed the design to the High School Relations office before the posters were printed. Assistant Director Grant Davis thought it would offend would-be Auburn Tigers and their parents. Dean of Student Services Wilbur Tincher agreed. Johnson made more modifications. But this time, either thinking that they’d PG’d it beyond objection — hey, there’s Snoopy with a houndstooth hat in mouth, cute! — or that it was to better to ask forgiveness than permission, University Relations actually went ahead and printed the poster before receiving the final High School Relations thumbs up, which, as it would turn out, they never got.
Ultimately, “THIS DUMB POSTER BROUGHT TO YOU BY AUBURN UNIVERSITY” didn’t make it to a single high school guidance counselor (who, by this point, must have thought that “The Female Form” was some secret Auburn core requirement or something). Instead, they were put up for grabs at Foy Union information desk, all 16,000 them. Surely one had to survive. If you have one to spare, please send it to us, or even just a photo. We promise not to be offended.
Graphic from Oct. 4, 1979 issue of The Auburn Plainsman.
UPDATE: Here’s how it looks in color, and framed and hanging in the office of 1986 Auburn grad Stan Manush.
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