Discourse / Letters / October 21, 2015

Letter to the Editor: A critique of the Siwash ‘publicity stunt’

As a former editor-in-chief of The Knox Student and, later, as an editor with the Associated Press, I applaud Kate Mishkin’s call for objective coverage of campus news. As for infringement of student media rights, I wonder what source or authority provides such rights. Apart from access to an open marketplace of ideas, journalistic rights are limited to bans on prior restraint by government.

That said, Kate rightly notes the journalistic obligation to ask difficult questions and, one presumes, accurately report the answers.

All of which prefaces my critique of the freshman publicity stunt exploiting the general confusion over replacing Siwash, an extinct savage tribe from the far northwest, with Prairie Fire, an ecological disaster for prairie critters. Great stunt.

As for an administrative panel to “prepare them for those (Siwash) conversations,” one wonders what muddled thinking justifies any administrator telling students what to think, say or spread about anything. Cannot educated students think for themselves?

Finally, at least one alumnus urges Eli Adams to broaden her horizons and, beyond eliminating an offensive Native American primitives’ label from the Knox mascot tag, provide new names for all tribal slurs in such place names as Kickapoo, Algonquin, Ottawa, Winnebago County, Sioux City, both North and South Dakota, Iowa, and Illinois, itself.

Tomorrow, the world, Eli. And enjoy reading George Fitch’s Classic, “At Old Siwash,” soon to be re-released as “At Old Prairie Fire.”



William Shaffer

Class of 1957


TKS Staff

Tags:  editorial letters old prairie fire old siwash siwash tks

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