A printing company in Mobile, Ala., refused to print a diversity and inclusion issue of a college magazine and cited religious beliefs for doing so.
Due South is the student-run lifestyle magazine at the University of South Alabama that has been in circulation since 2012. But it wasn’t until the publication put together its first special topics issue for Fall 2019 that it had faced any problems with distribution. The editor-in-chief, Sara Boone, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that the issue, which focused on sharing the stories of the university’s diverse student body, was something that she’s wanted to publish since she became the editor three years ago. After finally getting to do so, she never anticipated this roadblock.
“We’ve used Interstate printing for as long as I’ve been editor,” Boone explains, adding that she has a pretty routine and easy process with them for getting the magazine printed. “This time, I sent them the files and everything. I had called them on Tuesday and said, ‘I’m about to send you the files.’ […] Then Wednesday, they emailed me that, after looking at the content of the magazine, they would like to express their freedom to not publish this issue because they’re a Christian company and the content does not adhere to their values.”
Boone went onto say that Interstate didn’t explain what content in particular it disagreed with. The University of Alabama senior also said that she had no indication of their religious stance prior to the incident.
“It’s never something that came up before, I guess because we’ve never published this type of content,” Boone says.
Interstate didn’t respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment. However, there is a declaration of the company’s Christian beliefs on its website.
“We are a Christian company that will serve the Lord God Almighty in any way we can,” it reads in the About Us section, while Bible verses appear elsewhere on its pages.
Still, Boone says that there is no indication about what content Interstate will or will not print as a result. She goes onto point out that she, too, is a Christian, but doesn’t subscribe to the company’s seemingly non-inclusive beliefs.
“There’s definitely different ideas of Christianity,” she says.
The magazine was ultimately able to go to an on-campus printing office to get the issue ready for its late November launch. She assures Yahoo Lifestyle that Due South has now received offers from other printers in the area, who will help to fulfill the magazine’s order for distribution and that she will look into working with in the future.
“We really just want to get these stories out there,” Boone says of the content of the magazine. “We’re not trying to convert anyone’s beliefs. We’re not trying to convert lifestyles… Our job as the voice of the students of South Alabama and the Mobile community is just to get these stories out there and be the voice of the groups of people who don’t normally have this type of outlet and this type of ally.”
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