Racist paper found in Greek Row

By Dave Duschene and Tammy Sholer

A racially derogatory Georgia-based newspaper recently was distributed in the Greek Row area and has caused concern among several NIU officials.

It still is unclear how many copies of “The Thunderbolt,” a 20-page publication subtitled “News Suppressed by the Daily Press,” were circulated.

“I’ve not been able to identify that anybody has seen this thing widely distributed. I think its important to keep that in perspective,” said Jon Dalton, vice president for student affairs. “The fact that it exists is of concern.”

Dalton, who received a copy of “The Thunderbolt” in the mail, said he has directed university staff members to find and remove all copies of the newspaper from Greek Row. He said there has been no indication that any copies were distributed on campus.

Black Student Union President Pam Bozeman said, “I am aware that the paper has been distributed among the DeKalb community, and I am collecting information from the student body about the incident. A full statement from me will follow immediately after my investigation.”

Student Association President Jim Fischer said, “From a brief overview of this (Thunderbolt), it appears it’s just filled with garbage. It would be interesting to find out why they’re distributing this and if they think it’s supported by anything substantial.”

Dave Fisher, Phi Kappa Theta pledge educator, said a copy of the newspaper was left in a brown envelope on the fraternity’s doorstep. He said, “I think it was kind of funny (but) very racist and it is a very one-sided paper. I think it is more stupid that people would believe it.”

The newspaper is edited by Dr. E.R. Fields in Marietta, Ga. The paper, which has been in publication for 28 years, states it is “must reading which patriots everywhere depend on.”

The issue which reached Greek Row accuses blacks with spreading AIDS and claims that scientific research has proven the races are not equal.

In addition, the paper includes an article entitled, “Mixed Marriage Goes Against Nature—Disrupts Society.”

University Programming and Activities Director Michelle Emmett said she had not heard of the publication until Dalton mentioned it to her Monday morning. However, she said her office would assist in the removal of the paper.

“I work closely with the Greek community and I hadn’t heard anything about it from any of the greeks. That leads me to believe that not many have seen it,” Emmett said.

“Our office certainly has a commitment to try and stop the distribution of these things within student organizations. I don’t want to see our student organizations being used as pawns in the distribution of this material,” Emmett said.

Inter-Fraternity Council (IFC) President Tom Zur said, “I did not hear about it until today (Monday), and I have not seen it yet. The IFC is meeting tomorrow (Tuesday) and we are going to pass a resolution that denounces racism and that particular publication.

“We (IFC) are against anything racist,” Zur said. He said he is going cooperate with the university by finding copies around Greek Row and destroying them.

Ken Beasley, assistant to NIU President John LaTourette, said “Thunderbolt” is “a very disgusting piece of trash, and we’re trying to get rid of it. It’s reprehensible.”

Phi Kappa Theta Treasurer Skip Trotter said, “It is basically a communist point of view.”

Dalton said the university will investigate the circulation, but said it is too early to determine what sanctions would be taken if it was discovered who is responsible for the distribution.

“I hope the university has been able to demonstrate we’re taking a strong stance against these types of things,” Dalton said.

Fischer said, “I think it’s (the paper’s distribution) just clear proof that this campus is not free of racism and that students cannot be misled that it is. Efforts to eliminate racism must be supported by all students on campus.”

Karen Perkins, acting president of the Minority Graduate Student Association, said, “Everyone in the university community should be outraged that it surfaced.”

Dalton said he does not see any connection with “The Thunderbolt” to last year’s “Stump” magazine incident because of “Thunderbolt’s” Georgia roots.

“Stump” was a collection of racially inciteful poems and essays written and distributed on campus by three English students last October.

The nature of “Stump,” which also included graphic descriptions of sexual acts, resulted in the battery of one of its authors shortly after publication.

As a result of “Stump” and other racial incidents last school year, a task force was formed to investigate racism at NIU. In addition, an anti-racism rally was held at King Memorial Commons in the spring to bring to light the issue of racism on campus.