During its first 125 years, the Rocky Mountain Collegian typically remained a step ahead—sometimes a mile ahead—of what others in society thought.
Time and again, the newspaper dragged readers—Colorado State University students and the community of Fort Collins, Colo.—into doing what society as a whole eventually would deem as the right thing to do.
Whether it was bucking against racism and the KKK in the early 20th century, brandishing verbal swords against the Vietnam War in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, or promoting civil rights and women’s rights in the 21st century, the student-run newspaper has a well-heeled history of yanking and pulling, grunting and groaning, and arguing and reasoning to get readers aligned on the right side of emerging social, political and educational issues.
But not without consequences.
Over the decades advertisers reacted to perceived Collegian liberalism by pulling ads—sometimes major losses of revenue for the publication. The university’s administration threatened to shut down this nuisance, the Collegian. Professors purposely flunked editors. Students picketed the newspaper. Bomb threats were phoned in. Tires of Collegian employees were slashed.
Editors were vilified in voice mails, letters to the editor and posters hung around campus. One editor—yours truly—was slugged in Morgan Library by the student government’s vice president who was enraged over an editorial that caused one of the veep’s friends to lose a student election. In the 1967-68 school year, when the Collegian started questioning the Vietnam War, the student body hanged a straw dummy—meant to represent editor-in-chief Evan Green—in effigy because, they claimed, Green was too radical.