On Monday, FIRE’s Samantha Harris wrote about the reaction to the “FUCK BUSH” editorial by the Rocky Mountain Collegian staff at Colorado State University. Since then, the paper’s editor, J. David McSwane, has consulted with David Lane, known for having represented Ward Churchill in his well-known case. The Northern Colorado ACLU has weighed in on behalf of the paper (see a September 24 blog entry at the link preceding), and CSU’s Board of Student Communications met yesterday—setting a meeting to discuss the case today. According to one observer of that meeting (see the September 26 blog entry at this link), “most people who spoke to the CSU media code of ethics reiterated that the editorial was within the rules.”
Indeed, the Board of Student Communication Bylaws do state explicitly that university officials cannot “censor or punish the occasional use of indecent, vulgar or so called ‘four-letter’ words in student publications.” The fact that advertisers have pulled ads from the Collegian may be unfortunate, but this fact cannot fairly be used as an alterative route to officially punish the paper or its staff for the constitutionally protected editorial.
Again, stay tuned, as we are, to developments in this case.