From the Archives: Censorship in ’78 and those Darned Fighting Aardvarks in ’81

By Leslie James, Student Editor

This semester in PPCC student-run newspaper’s history: Pikes Peak News Vol. 2, No. 4 Nov. 27, 1978

Student reporters fought for their first amendment right of a free press when then-vice president for student services, John Rodwick passed a letter received by the Attorney General’s office as law “implying student funds belong to the state and therefore the college has the right to dictate how they will be spent.”

RMCPA Award Winning Paper Volume 2, Number 4 Pikes Peak News 1978
Pikes Peak News

Rodwick interpreted the letter as a dictation for any student-raised funds were required to pass through approval for how they would be spent. Student reporter, Marti Dyer-Allison, stated that consequently, Rodwick would have the power over what articles could or could not be printed in the Pikes Peak News; thus if an article was unfavorable, Rodwick might refuse to sign the release of the students’ own money.

“What all this should lead one to suspect is a single, ugly word – censorship.” Dyer-Allison wrote.

This was not the first and certainly not the last attempt of censorship by the college’s authority.

Then-college president, Don McInnis, scrutinized an article in the News written by the editor before it was produced in print in April 1976.

Fred Buys, a recruitment officer for the college, told Pikes Peak News’ advertising manager, Larry Gwinn, to rid of newspaper samples at a college night at Coronado High School. Buys stated the articles were “not good PR for the college.”

This day in PPCC student-run newspaper’s history:

Pikes Peak Fuse Vol. 3, No. 4 December 7, 1981

The aardvark could easily be said to be the most random pick for a symbol of a college in Colorado, but Arnie the Aardvark has been the mascot for Pikes Peak Community College since 1970.

According to the activities director at the time, Bob Henry, the idea for the mascot to be an aardvark started as a joke. But soon, the “Fighting Aardvarks” became infamous when the basketball team diminished due to funding cuts in the spring of 1980.

The name beamed a humorous light to the college’s sports team. While some students during this time pushed for a mascot change, others argued saying the aardvark was “fun.” Commercial art students even went as far as producing “Save the Aardvark” buttons and sold them to the student body.

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