Former director: Collegian has brought reform to Butler, voice to community

Your article on The Collegian’s budget shortfall raised more questions than it answered.

Permit me to add some additional ingredients to the mix and perhaps stir the pot.

In 1986, James Neal, former Board of Trustees member, owner and publisher of the Noblesville Ledger and former Indiana Republican chairman, produced a gala to mark the centennial of The Collegian. Then, Mr. Neal—himself a Butler journalism grad—considered The Collegian a Butler institution.

When a president denied students the use of the library for late night studying, The Collegian mounted a campaign, and the library was opened.

When women were denied the same rights that men enjoyed, The Collegian investigated and change occurred.

When a dean of students boasted about his credentials, The Collegian investigated and discovered that he received his B.A. and M.A. in the same week from a Hawaiian store front college. He resigned the next day.

When a president sold the Lilly House to a board member who immediately resold it for a profit, The Collegian called the transaction a conflict of interest.

When a president contracted with a fly by night company to drill for oil on the canal, The Collegian investigated and exposed the plan as a tax scam. The president canceled the contract.

Those examples, among many others, should suffice to demonstrate The Collegian’s value to the Butler community. The Collegian, an exemplar of First Amendment values, has always served as the voice of faculty and students.

Your other article assessing the journalism program caused me to reflect on my 33 years as professor and chairman of the journalism department, and with apologies to the hundreds of journalism grads who had worthy careers, here are some success stories.

John Doyle is vice president of ascension of the largest holding company of Catholic hospitals in the world.

Dan Cooreman works for the New York Times. Before their premature deaths, Don Thrasher had signed with 60 Minutes after having covered the fall of the Berlin Wall for ABC, Pat Morrison was the Indianapolis Star’s environmental reporter and Dave Garlick covered the Indianapolis Indians for the Star.

Mark Nichols headed the Star’s investigative team, Joe Dits reports for the South Bend Tribune, Wendy Thomas is an editor and columnist for the Memphis Commercial Appeal, Theresa Mask reports for the Detroit Free Press, Susan Chandler had a long career with the Chicago Tribune, and Scott Levin—formerly editor of the Alaska Daily News—is now the news analyst for Newhouse Newspapers.

Patty Stonesipher managed the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, the wealthiest in the world. Kara Massy McCall, after getting her law degree from the University of Chicago, clerked for an appellate court judge and then joined a prestigious Chicago law firm. And Andy Crain is a lawyer on the West coast.

Heather Stockdell advises a high school newspaper in Lawrence, and LaValle Jordan is assistant basketball coach at the University of Michigan.

Finally, as a source of additional revenue, I would suggest maintaining The Collegian’s independence and have students approve a $2.50 fee per semester— the cost of one extra beer.

 

Art Levin

Director of Butler’s Journalism

Department, 1973-1997

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