On Sept. 18 the first issue of The Spartan was scheduled to hit Castleton. At 7:45 a.m. a group of practicum students met in Leavenworth to divvy up the territory and we hit the pavement through the town and campus for delivery.
As my first issue as co-editor, I was proud of what we had produced. From back to front we had it all; the photography to grab your attention paired with stories to sustain it.
We had a cartoon and opinion pieces that were sure to entertain. We even took some risks and made a few design changes. I strut through campus, feeling weightless beneath the stack of several hundred papers, and made sure to Snapchat the milestone before distributing the final bundle.
Not even two hours later I received a text message saying that these same stacks of papers, and then some, were nowhere to be seen. Perhaps it was my own vanity that brought me to assume the missing papers was great news.
They love it! I thought. First issue and it’s flying off the racks!
But another text from my co-editor, Martina, brought my head out of the clouds. Our papers had been taken by the stacks and thrown into trash cans across campus. Sure enough, I opened the first can I came to and found a pile of papers blanketing pieces of rotting fruit.
We have come to know this was an act of retaliation to defend the Castleton football players arrested for the string of retail thefts from Dick’s Sporting Goods, which was covered on the front page. Ironically, the retaliation, like the retail thefts, could be considered larceny.
In a phone call home to vent about the campus chaos, I was asked what’s being put in the water at Castleton to cause the outbreak of kleptomania. Though it was a question simply seeking a laugh, it’s been running through my mind since it was asked.
The best answer I have found is that as a whole we have strayed from our sense of what it means to be a true community. Somewhere we have developed the false idea that we should project ourselves as a utopia. However, we as a community are far from perfect and in order to grow as individuals, we must be aware of and learn from our every triumph and every fault.
At The Spartan, we aim to make you aware. We do not make the news; we simply report it – all of it – in an unbiased fashion. The issue discarded in dumpsters, sandwiched between day old fruit and Common Hour pizzas, was no different in that respect. It was, however, an issue judged by its cover and the rash actions against it robbed the student body of the opportunity to see all that it had to offer.
As a former Castleton student-athlete, I have a great deal of respect for the athletic department and I owe them my gratitude, after all they are what brought me to the Green Mountains. But If I learned anything from being a Spartan athlete, it’s what it means to be a part of a team. The newspaper is my team now and just as an athletic team is much more than any one player, a newspaper has more to offer than just one article.
We are a team of journalists, photographers and designers whose creativity and talent was censored. To read your name in a byline or photo credit for the first time is an irreplaceable feeling and I’m discouraged for the new staff members who were robbed of this opportunity. Despite the fact that everyone could not see past the surface, I hope they are each able to recognize the quality of their work and won’t lose the fire they began the year with.