Wednesday, March 27, 2013
On this date in 1963, the North Dakota State University school newspaper, The Spectrum, published its first edition under new editor, Everett Richardson. With this issue launched a new school controversy.
A student had complained that the Rahjahs, a campus pep squad, and the cheerleaders were not doing their job. In a letter to the paper that caused an upset, he complained that at a recent game, “out of the five cheerleaders I think we have, two were at the game…Out of the thirty-five Rahjahs we have on campus I counted six at the game and they were so … drunk they had no idea there was a game being played.”
Enter writer Joe Schneider, whose column, “Over the Back Fence,” had caused The Spectrum to be censored in the previous term. According to Schneider, some of the Rahjahs had confronted him about the letter. He said that this was not the first time complaints had occurred because of the Rahjah’s drinking, though the group claimed it was because it took nerves to stand up in front of the school and cheer.
Schneider wrote: “They say that if they don’t mind being known as drinkers and rowdies, then we shouldn’t kick about their conduct. After all, they are a club with a near impossible job. … We suggest that the Rahjahs either start making an honest effort to lead cheers without having a few drinks under their belts or disband.”
In response, a member of the Rahjahs wrote that their job was difficult due to the apathy of the student body, and reinforced that the Rahjahs also offered scholarships, stating, “I sincerely don’t blame Joe, for he must make up somehow for the poor quality of his column, and it is easy to understand his bitterness after being turned down when he expressed his desire to become a member of the RAHJAH CLUB.”
Schneider seemed unaffected by this, however, and in fact his articles likely only helped the paper. He was perhaps best described by the previous editor, Dora Iva Gault, who wrote that, “although Schneider has not always met his deadlines and although many persons on campus do not agree with some of his mutterings, this writer offers congratulations for a job well done. It was the goal of this editorial staff to increase the student interest in the paper during the year, and thanks to Schneider, this has been accomplished.”
Dakota Datebook written by Sarah Walker
The Spectrum: Feb. 27, 1963; March 27, 1963