Sep 242007
Authors: Erik Myers

In the days following The Rocky Mountain Collegian editorial on September 21st, students, faculty and community members alike have been calling for the resignation of Collegian Editor in Chief J. David McSwane.

McSwane will be brought before the Board of Student Communications on Wednesday, 7:00 pm, in the Plant Science building, room C101. The hearing, originally scheduled for tonight, was rescheduled due to a scheduling conflict with CSU’s diversity conference keynote speaker, Ambassador Andrew Young, as well as for reasons of security.

According to the BSC manual, members of the public will have the opportunity to share their opinion on the editorial. Following public comments, the board will determine whether complaints of the editorial hold merit; if so, the board will schedule a time and date for a hearing panel to hold a private discussion to decide a course of action. The time when the board will announce its decision has not been decided.

Leading the push for resignation has been the CSU College Republicans. Yesterday, members of the group set up a booth at the Lory Student Center plaza, with a petition asking for McSwane’s resignation. Kimber Denny, College Republicans outreach associate, had spent the entire afternoon at the booth, offering passerby the opportunity to sign the petition, and discussing the situation.

Denny said that the group questioned McSwane’s editorial credientals, saying he had abused his power as Editor in Chief to promote a political agenda and had grossly offended the university and Fort Collins community. She said “hundreds” of members of the CSU and the city community had signed the petition. Denny said the petition wasn’t intended to be politically motivated.

“It just so happens that the College Republicans have become the voice of CSU,” Denny said. “We’re standing up to present the voice of CSU and the Fort Collins community.”

McSwane has firmly stated that he has no intention of resigning. In a statement on the Collegian’s website, McSwane admitted that the editorial had a political nature, it was intended as an exercise of the First Amendment, of which the university had no control over.

“While the statement was undeniably political, we feel that the more important statement was in our support of freedom of the press and free speech on a college campus,” McSwane said in the statement. “This issue, we think, has snowballed into a national controversy because our use of profanity, which can’t be stopped or punished by the university.”

Chelsey Penoyer, College Republicans chairman, said she felt that The Collegian had long held a liberal bias in its editorial page. Penoyer said College Republicans had been planning a conservative newsletter: ‘The Ram Republic.’

“We’ve already been in the process of making our own paper before this happened and its all the more reason to make it,” Penoyer said. “We’re tired of only one voice being heard.”

Student and faculty reaction to the editorial has varied.

April Williams, a junior psychology major, was one among many who signed the College Republicans’ petition, but said McSwane’s immediate resignation wasn’t necessary, just that he needed to face the consequences of the papers’ actions.

“He was trying to make a point and he did it in the wrong way,” Williams said. “I signed the petition for him to resign, not necessarily because I think that he should quit right now, but because I think he needs to face some sort of repercussion.”

Khongor Jamiyanka, a junior mechanical engineering major, expressed apathy at the controversy the editorial caused.

“I don’t really care,” Jamiyanka said. “If people don’t like Bush, they should be able to express that.”

Debra Walker, an English instructor, said she hadn’t heard about the editorial until Monday, but her reaction had been immediate.

“I understand that people are offended by the language, and I really don’t think if he’s making an argument that (profanity) is going to do him any good,” Walker said. “But is it his right to do that? Absolutely.”

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