I was not sure if I was going to link a picture because I find it very offensive, but I think in this case a description alone will not suffice, so here is the comic strip in question.
The text describes Man 1 having consensual sex with a woman while man 2 hides. Then, without her knowledge, man 2 takes his place while man 1 gets her attention from a window, at which point she is surprised. Because she did not consent to the second partner, this becomes a rather obvious case of rape. And it is not funny.
One commenter on Jezebel added a fourth panel to the comic that I think sums it up nicely
The fortunate part, if one could call it such, is that the editor has issued a genuine apology (as opposed to an "I'm sorry if you were offended" type apology that is so often the case with offensive college newspaper columns). Here are some quotes from the apology;
First things first: We made a mistake in printing Friday’s sex position of the week, and I, the editorial board, and The Exponent are extremely sorry...Contrast this to The John Hopkins Newsletter's statement about "fat chicks" at a lingerie party, where he writes "Though we apologize for the harm the article did, we will not apologize for the intent of the article."
On Friday and over the weekend, we received a flood of e-mails and phone calls telling us that this sort of graphic is unacceptable. And as soon as we received the first one and looked at it again – really looked at it – we agreed. If someone engages in any sexual act with anyone without his or her explicit consent, it’s rape...
The first step, however, is to admit our mistake and apologize. That’s what I’m doing here. We erred and we’re sorry – not because of your response, but because we were wrong and would’ve been wrong even if nobody had said so.
I have seen numerous examples of college papers running completely inappropriate material, whether it be an opinion piece, a (failed) attempt at satire, or a comic strip like the one described above. Every time, I wonder how it makes it through editing, and I am not familiar enough with how newspapers are run to comment on that. What I can comment on is that only in a culture where sexual assault(under certain circumstances) is trivialized can this type of material make it into print.
I hope that The Exponent uses this as a learning opportunity and uses its influence to fight rape culture at Purdue rather than being a part of it.