Colorado State University editor will keep his job

Two weeks and twoboard meetings after printing a four-word editorial saying “Taser This … FuckBush,” the Board of Student Communications at Colorado State University at FortCollins ruled Oct. 4 that the editor in chief at The Rocky Mountain Collegiancan keep his job.

The board decided to “admonish” McSwane, saying he violated sections ofthe board’s bylaws prohibiting the publication of “profane or vulgar words”in opinion writing.

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SPLC View: Chances are good that you’ve already heard about thiscase. It made the Drudge Report and was fodder for various talk shows andeditorials across the country. It was perhaps because of the buzz that CSU’sBoard of Student Communications — created by CSU and made up, in part, of CSUofficials — felt it necessary to hold formal hearings and issue an officialdecision on a question that — legally — was already clearly answered and onethat CSU President Larry Penley, on the day the editorial ran, seemed to understand. “Colorado State, as a state institution, is prohibited by lawfrom censoring or regulating the content of its student media publication,”Penley wrote.

It is also unfortunate that student groups such as the CSU CollegeRepublicans so quickly jumped on the bandwagon calling for the editor’s removal.Such a response is shortsighted and shows a serious misunderstanding of why theFirst Amendment exists. We tolerate otherwise lawful speech in this country –even when we don’t like it — because one day we might be the speaker who wantsto say something others would choose to suppress if they could. Fortunately, inthe end, cooler heads prevailed.