- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 6, 2007

DENVER — The Colorado State University editor who ran a profane headline in the student newspaper was back on the job yesterday after receiving a slap on the wrist by a university panel.

The Board of Student Communications voted Thursday night to admonish J. David McSwane, editor of the Rocky Mountain Collegian, for using profanity in an editorial directed at President Bush.

The decision came as a victory for Mr. McSwane, 20, who could have been fired or suspended for the editorial. The only punishment less severe would have been to dismiss the complaint without prejudice.

“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,” he said in yesterday’s Collegian.

James Landers, who heads the board, said the editorial was protected under the First Amendment. But he scolded Mr. McSwane for violating university rules that prohibit “profane and vulgar words” in opinion writing.

“The editorial has caused harm to the Collegian … and the university community,” Mr. Landers said.

In an editorial yesterday, the newspaper’s editorial board hailed the decision, calling it “great news for us, and great news for every American that still believes in the Constitution of the United States.”

But the Sept. 21 editorial, “Taser this … (Expletive) Bush” came at a price. The Collegian faces the loss of $50,000 in advertising revenue from local businesses offended by the profanity.

The newspaper responded last week by slicing staff salaries by 10 percent and switching from color to black-and-white printing. Other cost-cutting measures could be in store, depending on the intensity of the backlash.

Advertising manager Kim Blumhardt said yesterday that her staff was “just prepared to move forward.”

The College Republicans collected more than 500 signatures from students calling for Mr. McSwane’s ouster.

“We think he should have been fired for the damage he did to the paper,” College Republicans secretary Bobby Carson said. “He has every right to say what he wants in his newspaper, but he also has every right to be fired.”

The fallout from the brouhaha also could include alumni donations.

“We’ve been in talks with a lot of alumni, and they’ve been ripping up checks,” Mr. Carson said.


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