On Thursday, May 4, 1972, the cover of the Collegian featured a naked woman with a folded American flag draped across her lap and a glass of wine in her hand.
Investigation of articles, teamed up with risqu/ photographs, came as a result of the Collegian’s 115th anniversary this month.
The photo went along with a story about CSU’s “College Days” – “Miss Moo U toasts Happy College Days” – a tradition unbeknownst to CSU students since 1987, when the event was cancelled.
Asked what he might do if he saw a naked woman on the cover of the Collegian, Scott Champion said, “My initial reaction would be, ‘What the hell?'”
“Then, I’d think it was art,” the senior liberal arts major said. Laughing, Champion added, “Very interesting. That was in the thick of the hippy movement.”
Caitlin Carson, a junior sociology major studying for a final exam in criminology with Champion near the coffee stand in the library, asked, “Did hippies drink wine?”
Studying calculus in the Lory Student Center food court on Sunday, Christine Benson said, “It seems inappropriate. (The Collegian) is open to so many people. It’s like someone has no choice but to see that.”
Benson, a senior mathematics education major, mentioned the Oct. 16, 2006, article in the Collegian, “Nude kids on the block,” an article about streaking which had a photo of three naked men covering up with footballs.
“(The streakers) didn’t really show anything (inappropriate),” Benson said. “People don’t have a choice (if there are breasts on the front page).”
Enjoying a Subway sandwich in the LSC, sophomore health promotion major Tim Halliday said, “I’d be surprised (if I saw a naked woman on the cover).”
“It probably wouldn’t fly today,” he added.
A little more than 14 years before the Collegian ran the article with the nude photo, the paper’s managing editor, Bill Zint, wrote an editorial piece titled “Women Attend College?”
The column that printed Feb. 18, 1958, included the commentary: “A college education is important for a woman in order for her to be a good wife, mother and citizen.”
“I’d be offended (if I saw that in the paper today),” Carson said. “I think women have every right to attend college.”
She added, “If I knew that when I finished (at CSU) I was going to go home and cook and clean, then what was the point (of college)?”
Champion said the difference between the sentiment presented in Zint’s 1958 column and cultural norms in 2006 is indicative of significant, but not all-encompassing, social change.
“(The column) goes to show how our society used to be,” Champion said. “Unfortunately, though, some people still think that way.”
Benson said it’s important to take the article in context. “It was an appropriate article for the time (in which it was written).”
“That’s what was expected of women,” she said.
After the women’s rights movement, Benson said, men and women are a lot closer to being equals. “If (the column ran) today, it would piss a lot of people off.”
In January 1973, Collegian staff writer Linda Norman broke a story, “Cam’s Fate Sealed.” CAM the Ram was to be “slaughtered sometime this spring and his head mounted and raffled off next year at homecoming.”
“Dude! What the (expletive),” Champion said. “That’s horrible.”
“I think that’s disgusting. I’m a big animal person,” Benson said. “I would have rather seen (CAM) live his life on a farm or something.”
Benson was relieved to hear, however, that the following day, the story, “Cam’s Life Spared,” revealed that the university had changed its mind about CAM’s untimely end.
“He’s such a big part of our school,” Benson said. “I’m glad they chose to let him live out his natural life.”
Laughing, Halliday said, “I probably would have bid on him.”
Staff writer Geoff Johnson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.