Decade team: Jess Jochims, Randy Webb, Beth Wolfswinkel and Christy Hemken (captain)

During the 1970s, The Daily’s reporting followed the boundary-pushing nationwide social climate. The book America in the Seventies states that during the 1970s “censorship laws were struck down, sex districts in cities flourished, and heterosexual couples flocked to X-rated movies.” Following this trend, issues such as drugs, sex and women’s rights were among those covered in Iowa State’s student newspaper.

The Daily faithfully followed the rapidly developing trends and belief systems of the 1970’s, following and documenting the campus through such things as Nixon’s election and the lowering of the legal drinking age. With the onset of marijuana’s popularity, The Daily was right there, conducting a poll that found that one in three ISU students had at least tried the popular plant.

During the sexual changes of the decade and the strengthening of feminism and the Women’s Libertarian Movement, The Daily maintained a cutting edge and was sure to report campus events and beliefs pertaining to the cause. Many articles were printed having to do with alternate sexuality, lesbianism and abortion.

In April of 1970, athletics and racism came to a head, when ISU wrestlers started a fight with black students at the Red Ram. The Daily reported the actual accounts “of two black and three white observers.” It appears that Chuck Jean, ISU wrestler and a national champion, approached a black student at the bar and tried to pick a fight, although future Olympic champion Dan Gable intervened.

Following the fight, a statement was issued from Roy Snell, president of the Black Student Organization. It stated: “There was a vicious, brutal attack on black persons around.  This is a statement to all the white people on the Iowa State Campus.  If any black man, black woman or black child is harassed in any way by a white person, there is going to be war up here.  I mean W-A-R war.”

In 1974, The Daily sports staff had an intriguing policy of enlisting athletes to write about their own sport, such as Geery Forge, starting linebacker on the football team, who wrote game recaps in September of that year. In retrospect, Warren Madden, then the assistant vice-president for business and finance at The Daily, said that “it is not such a good idea to have a player write about his sport” because it would be “hard for [Forge] to be objective about his sport.”

Madden also said that “a lot has changed since those days. Certainly the development of Title IX has come a long way. The university expanded gender equity programs which created more women’s sports.” By 1977, the sports section began allotting much more space to women’s varsity sports.

Intramural sports enjoyed much attention in The Daily’s pages during the ’70s. Most Tuesday sports pages in 1974 were devoted to covering recent tournaments and also on Tuesday McDonald’s sponsored “The Intramural Highlights” by Rich Gill, Intramural Publicity Director. Surprisingly, most articles on the sports page were not written by Daily staff members. In effect, the newspaper was printing public relations material on its sports pages.

The need for a new campus recreational center was acknowledged. On March 13, 1975, an article containing a proposal for the new facility was published. The plethora of intramural opportunities combined with the increase in Title IX female athletes had made more athletic space a necessity and The Daily participated in the campaign for a new facility by printing articles and editorials on the subject.

Despite the lack of monumental events or controversies during the latter third of the 1970s decade, editors Tom Hanson and Jim Blume and Daily writers continued to cover the everyday news pertinent to students and those involved with Iowa State University. The staff worked hard to follow controversial or crucial issues through to their conclusions, even though this could be quite some time, as evidenced by the many issues which appeared time and again as the faculty, GSB or city council decided the next fate of ISU students.

The 1970s were a time of exploration and change and the Daily evolved with American culture, right down to a total redesign on Nov. 28, 1978, which updated and modernized the paper’s appearance. A continued free press enabled the staff to cover issues and events as they transpired.







About this Project Iowa State Daily Greenlee School Iowa State University Centennial Site