Colorado State Plots Corporate Takeover of Controversial Student Newspaper

By January 24, 2008

Wednesday’s Rocky Mountain Collegian breaks wide open the latest efforts by Colorado State University to regulate the student newspaper in the wake of a controversy over a staff editorial that used the F-word last semester.

See the following items in yesterday’s issue:

  • "Gannett eyes Collegian takeover," the main story, which begins to reveal the secret efforts by CSU to give up its over 100-year-old paper to a for-profit entity.

The stories we’ve heard are scary and conflicting. Minutes prior to the meeting, [CSU President Larry] Penley told J. David McSwane, editor in chief, that he was simply accepting a meeting with the editor and publisher of the Coloradoan—a friendly chat, if you will. We were told minutes later by Brad Bohlander, a CSU spokesperson, that it was a preliminary meeting to discuss a "strategic partnership" between the university and the Coloradoan. And later, an e-mail from Greg Luft, chair of the journalism department, detailed that the Coloradoan planned a takeover per his discussion with Coloradoan Editor Bob Moore.

Amid the secrecy, mistruths and rumors, one thing is certain: To our president, a businessman by trade, the CSU student voice has a price.

  • "We are not corporate media," an opinion piece by Sean Reed. According to Reed, "Penley is attempting to sell a part of our university’s history and lied to the students of CSU about it."

Does CSU even have the authority to tell the paper with whom it must be associated? Does CSU even own the paper in any meaningful way? These are intriguing questions, and we will keep following this case in the coming weeks.