After nearly two weeks unsure that he would keep his job after becoming a national figure of controversy for printing an editorial that said Taser This . F*** BUSH, Collegian Editor in Chief J. David McSwane got a slap on the wrist and will keep his job.
The Board of Student Communications (BSC) presented their decision to the Collegian editorial staff Thursday night after a fact-finding hearing, during which the BSC asked the editors questions about why they decided to print the editorial and whether they still thought it was the right thing to do.
They decided not to fire McSwane because “the September 21 editorial was an expression of opinion, which we regard as protected by the First Amendment,” the BSC said in a statement.
The BSC decided to “admonish” McSwane. Admonish is defined in the BSC Manual as a reminder to the editor of his responsibilities and an encouragement to “modify” his behavior.
But they held in the letter that “It is our judgment that your decision was unprofessional and unethical.”
The Collegian editorial staff is jovial about the decision.
“I’m just overwhelmed and overjoyed with pure happiness just because nobody could take Dave’s place,” said Managing Editor Hailey McDonald, who would have taken McSwane’s place as editor in chief had he been fired.
“His journalistic and leadership abilities are out of this world and I think the paper would have gone down in quality a couple notches,” McDonald said.
She looks forward for trying make up for the unintended consequences of the controversial editorial.
Some CSU students were angered by the editorial. One student supports the editorial staff’s cause, but said that the Collegian abused its First Amendment rights.
“They could have done it a nicer way .” said human sciences senior Matt Lorenz. “The First Amendment is something to be cherished, not abused.”
CSU journalism instructor Donna Rouner believes the BSC made the right decision. She said she hopes the BSC’s decision resonates in the community and keeps CSU students talking about important issues like free speech.
McSwane said he is relieved that the ordeal is over.
“The last two weeks has been a series of falls and triumphs and emotional stress,” McSwane said.
He thinks the Board made the right decision.
“I think that they made the best decision they could have in their situation – they know that they need to uphold the First Amendment and what it means to students,” McSwane said. “They also have to save face in this media circus.”
McSwane looks forward to get back to the grindstone and start publishing without the pressure of possibly losing his job. He also joked that he could now start going to class again.
Senior reporter Aaron Hedge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.