The reporters at the Pierce College Roundup knew that something strange was going on at the baseball field on their campus.
Black tarp around the field made it impossible to see inside. Then one of the student newspaper's staffers recognized a few of the women leaving the stadium. And he didn't recognize them from a class -- they were featured in some adult movies he had seen.
Armed with that information, the Roundup staff was able to figure out what was going on behind the tarp: a promotional video for Playboy's Spice television network. The company paid the college $5,000 for the right to use the baseball stadium.
An editorial in the Roundup criticized the college -- part of the Los Angeles Community College District -- for taking the money. "Yes, Pierce needs the money," the editorial said. "However, how far are they willing to go and what's next?"
Officials of Pierce and the Spice television network did not return phone calls on Friday.
But Tom Oliver, the college's president, told the Los Angeles Daily News that district officials approved the lease agreement for the field, which Oliver called "easy money" for the college at a time of tight budgets.
And Spice officials told the newspaper that the baseball set was appropriate because the video involved a baseball game with nine men and nine women.
Maria Zajacz, managing editor of the Roundup, said in an interview Friday that as a feminist she doesn't like pornography, or her college helping its production in any way. She said that the president's quote about "quick money" was upsetting.
"I found it very offensive," she said. "You don't make quick money off of women."