Back in the ’60s, the Campus Times didn’t have the fierce grip on University news that it cherishes today, now pompously sitting on top of all other University news publications.

In 2010, the highlight of the River Campus week is Thursday afternoon when the paper is delivered. Students and faculty go bonkers trying to snag an issue of the Campus Times for themselves. Pure pandemonium ensues. Students have been known to tattoo their favorite editor’s face on their arm. The paparazzi is overwhelming.

But 2010 was not 1959. The Undergraduate Humor Magazine, published only a few times a year, was engaged in a brutal power struggle with the CT.

The first week of Dan Rattiner’s reign as UGH editor, back in the late ’50s, set the stage for a tumultuous fight for power with conniving back-door tactics. Rattiner had to defend his magazine’s home turf (a closet in the student union) from the Campus Times, which wanted it as a dark room.

But the Campus Times took the fight even further (in a oh-no-we-didn’t-type moment). The semiweekly CT announced the formation of a humor column entitled Gallimaufry (meaning hodgepodge), in an attempt to monopolize humor on campus. The Editorial Board claimed that the CT could publish humor twice a week much more frequently than UGH (whose acronym reminds me more of the Lentil bean soup at the Pit than anything humorous).

According to Rattiner, the critical coverage went on for two weeks.

Rather than sitting on their hands, Rattiner ‘called a meeting of the troops.”

‘We tried shoehorning ourselves into the office, but when that didn’t work, we went outside and just stood around,” he said in a speech on Meliora Weekend 2009.

But UGH wasn’t passive for long. Infuriated with the big kahuna of news (the CT), UGH took a stand.

Rattiner and his army plotted to steal all of the issues of the Campus Times and put fake ones in its place, with some bizarre headlines and UGH-friendly coverage. Rattiner and the troops succeeded in replacing the real issues of the Campus Times with their fake counterparts early one Thursday morning, complete with an identical template of the front page.

‘UR to go on Tri-semester System,” read the lead headline. The football team was banished because it hadn’t won a game. Summer vacation was going to be shortened by a few months. And of course, the Editorial Board uncovered some massive financial fraud from the editor-in-chief and vowed to be more vigilant in evaluating its current leadership.

According to Rattiner’s account, the students were up in arms after reading the paper, running and crying. Secretaries got up and left the administration building, furious that there was no summer vacation.

So Rattiner and company fled for their lives. They drove off campus and stayed at Al’s Pizzeria for four hours.

Upon their return, Rattiner became the first defendant in front of the newly formed judicial council.

In the face of expulsion, Rattiner was acquitted, and the Campus Times reluctantly ran a headline, ‘Rattiner Acquitted.”

So UGH got its joke in, but the Campus Times got the last laugh. And while Rattiner has got our brains rolling, watch out Currents, we’re coming.

The following article uses the archive of Dan Rattiner’s speech about how he stole all of the Campus Times issues, given over Meliora Weekend 2009.

Willis is a member of the class of 2011.



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