The University Reporter-Intelligencer and Other Alternative Campus Newspapers

16 03 2017

The Bubble (1868) was the first student publication at Michigan State

At Michigan State University, there have been campus newspapers published almost as long as the university has existed. The Bubble (UA.12.7.16) was published in 1868 by Frank S. Burton  (Class of 1868) and was intended to be a humorous look at campus life. Another early campus publication was The Holcad (UA.12.7.2), a magazine-like publication with fiction, news, editorial comment, and gossip. It was first published on March 10, 1909.  In 1925, The Holcad became Michigan State News (later shortened to The State News) and was responsible to the College Press and paid for by student fees.

Nearly as long as there has been a campus newspaper, there have been alternative newspapers. These “alternatives” have generally arisen over differences in opinion between the news staff and students at large but occasionally have come about due to differences internally over personnel or ideology. Often, the papers were created just as an outlet for humor. These publications generally only lasted a year or so; the creators either graduated or moved on and the publication lost its momentum.

One alternative newspaper, The Spectre (UA.12.7.6), was published in 1957 by students Thomas Payne, Peter Zenger, Samuel Adams and John Fenno. Its November 18 issue discussed the student privilege of wearing clothes. Another parody newspaper was The Eczema (UA.12.7.23) begun by R. J. McCarthy in 1913 and continued into 1937 by the fraternity, Pi Delta Epsilon. This paper was similar to today’s The Onion. Much of the parody was related to events occurring on campus.

On a more serious note, The Paper (UA.12.7.7) was started by disillusioned State News staffer and journalism student Michael Kindman in late 1965. The Paper focused on the Vietnam War and the growing counter culture. Less than a decade later, The Grapevine Journal (UA.12.7.3) was created on a typewriter and pasted together by students Abdul M. Jamal and Karen L. Fitzgerald in June 1971. Two thousand copies were printed of the first issue. The newspaper continued to grow and by September 1972 had become the largest African-American student paper in the United States. Publication of The Grapevine Journal ended in 1975.


The Paper, 1965

During 1984-1985, The Michigan State Times was published by Editor Robert Gardella, a journalism student in the class of 1986. Politically to the right of The State News, it was an independent, student-run “non-partisan news and opinion” newspaper.


The Michigan State Times, 1985

In 1989, M. L. Elrick (Class of 1990, State News Staff 1987-1989)1, started the University Reporter-Intelligencer (uR-I) newspaper (UA.12.7.44) with encouragement from a friend (Angie Carozzo) after being overlooked by the State News Board of Trustees for the editor position even though fully supported by the SN staff. In his Spartan Saga interview, M. L. Elrick said, “a lot of people could have said, “What a drag,” but I went out and started my own paper with some friends of mine. And we had people who volunteered their time and effort to work for us, to sell ads, to write stories, to make art, to take photographs.” The uR-I was a free weekly newspaper that reached a circulation of 10,000 and was “intended as a weekly forum for the discussion of topics crucial to ensuring MSU’s position as an incubator of new and revolutionary ideas, dreamt up by the minds giving our community its character and verve.” M. L. Elrick was joined by Tresa Baldas (Class of 1990 and now a reporter at Detroit Free Press ), David Stearns (Class of 1989 and now Director of Communications at The B Team) and others to provide edgy reporting on topics still relevant today on campus: cost of education; abortion; LGBTQ issues; race relations; campus crime and more. The paper also was a great source for reviews of recently released music and movies as well as local entertainers. Local entertainer reviews included The Doe Boys; The Deans; Wayouts; Elvis Hitler; The Lime Giants; The Front; and many others.


uR-I, 1989

After Elrick’s graduation, Tim Silverthorn took over as uR-I editor for the fall 1990 semester but was unable to sustain the papers publishing. He’s now an Academic Technology Consultant at the University of St. Thomas.

Thanks to financial support from Mike Johnston (Class of 1993), the complete run of the uR-I is now online at the MSU Archives On the Banks of the Red Cedar website. Mike wrote us, “It (the uR-I) was distributed in the dorms, but wasn’t officially sanctioned by the university and was a hilarious thorn in the side of The State News for one entertaining year.”

To learn more about these alternative newspapers, visit the MSU Archives in Conrad Hall.

Written by Ed Busch, electronic records archivist

  1. L. Elrick later worked for the Detroit Free Press and was one of the two reporters who broke the text message scandal that brought down Kwame Kilpatrick, which led to his 2008 resignation from office and criminal conviction. This work was awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Local Reporting. He is also co-author of “The Kwame Sutra: Musings on Lust, Life and Leadership from Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.” Elrick now reports for Fox 2 TV in Detroit.



Announcing the Revised Human Resources Records Retention Schedule!

27 02 2017

The University Archives is excited to announce the publication of the revised Human Resources Records Retention Schedule!


The University’s records retention schedules are the official university policies governing records retention and must be followed by all employees to ensure compliance with institutional, state, and federal regulations. The new Human Resources Records Retention Schedule is the official policy and supersedes any previous Human Resources records retention schedules issued by the University Archives.

All units/offices should review the new schedule and implement it as appropriate. The schedule can be viewed and downloaded online at the University Archives website.

The university’s previous records retention schedules were last revised in the early 1990s, and as such, this newest revision represents a major update to the University’s previous records retention policies.

Major changes in the new Human Resources Records Retention Schedule include:

  • Expansion of records series to reflect current business environments
    • New record series for SIRS Evaluations, Time Records, Employee Personnel Files, and much, much more!
  • Identification of data sources and offices of record
  • Alignment of retention schedules with federal and state regulations
  • Clearer descriptions of record types for consistent implementation
  • New searchable, pdf format- easy to read and use!

Because this new records retention schedule represents a major change for the university, University Archives staff will be available to present on the new HR Records Retention Schedule upon request. A presentation is already scheduled for March 22, 2017 as part of the ADUC program. Additionally, the University Archives is designing video tutorials to discuss the new schedule format and provide campus users with information on the most common record series and retention periods. Those video tutorials will be online soon!

To request a presentation or additional information about the new retention schedule, please contact the University Archives at 517-355-2330 or

Written by Hillary Gatlin, University Records Manager

For those enjoying VICTORIA on Masterpiece™ Sunday nights, here’s our own link to the Queen

15 02 2017

Patent issued August 5, 1875

This Great Seal of the Realm was part of a donation from a relative of George W. Harrison.  The seal was attached by cord to a patent issued to William Robert Lake of the firm Anseltine Lake and Co., Southampton Building, London of an invention for “improvement in pitman or connecting rod bearings for harvesting and other machines . . . the said invention has been communicated from abroad by George W. Harrison of Lansing, Michigan, United States of America.”  The patent is dated August 5th, 1875.

According to the official website of the British Royal Family (, “the Great Seal of the Realm is the chief seal of the Crown, used to show the monarch’s approval of important State documents.” Queen Victoria had more than one seal due to the long length of her reign.


Close up of another wax seal in better condition (from


Written by Susan O’Brien, cataloger

Don Coleman, 1928-2017

1 02 2017

Don Coleman, MSC football player, poses on the field, circa 1950s

Former Michigan State Lineman Don Coleman has died at the age of 88.

A three-year letter-winner (1949-1951), Coleman was MSU’s first unanimous choice for All-American, in 1951.  In that year, Don Coleman helped propel the Spartan football team to their first ever national championship.  He was also the first Spartan athlete to have his jersey retired (#78), and Clarence “Biggie” Munn called him “the finest lineman ever to play for Michigan State”.  Soon after being drafted by the Chicago Cardinals in the 1952 NFL Draft, Coleman ended his football career to serve in the Korean War, adopting an orphanage overseas and acquiring clothing for the orphanage through work with the city of Flint, Michigan.

Coleman left the Army in 1954 to work in education in Flint, ultimately joining MSU’s faculty in 1968.  There, he served as an assistant professor in intercollegiate athletics, and even worked as an assistant coach under “Biggie” Munn that same season.  He was named Assistant Director of Student Affairs the following year, and was named Director of the Minority Comprehensive Support Program of the MSU College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1974.  In 1978, Coleman was named an Assistant Dean of the MSU Graduate School, and soon after served as the first Executive Director of the Black Child and Family Institute in Lansing, among many other prestigious roles in the Lansing area.

Don Coleman was also the first player named to Notre Dame’s All-Opponent Team three years in a row.  A complete film of the historic November 20, 1951 game against Notre Dame, in which the 5th ranked Spartans shut out the 11th ranked Fighting Irish by a score of 35-0, is available at the MSU Archives & Historical Collections (UA 17.75, reel 653).

Written by Matthew Wilcox, Audiovisual Archivist

Audiovisual Collections: Blanche Martin and the 1957 Spartan Football Team

16 01 2017

Blanche Martin

January 16, 2017 marks the 80th birthday of Blanche Martin – an academic all-American MSU football running back (1956-1959).  The 1957 Spartan Football team were national champions, one of six seasons in the team’s history in which they held that distinction, and thanks in no small part to Martin.  During that season, he scored 7 touchdowns and ran for over 600 yards.  But Martin is known for so much more than being a great Spartan running back.

Dr. Blanche Martin (DDS,  University of Detroit Dental School, 1967) was elected to the Michigan State University Board of Trustees in 1969, the first African American to hold the position.  He chaired the Board from 1974 to 1976, and served on the board until 1984.  Dr. Martin also made great strides in improving conditions for minorities at Michigan State, increasing minority hiring and enrollment.  Dr. Martin was also a co-founder of the College of Urban Development at Michigan State University.

A video of the October 26, 1957 game film against Illinois is available for viewing online at the MSU Archives & Historical Collections’ site for digital collections, On the Banks of the Red Cedar:  Other film reels from the 1957 season are available at the Archives, including most of the other games from that season, a highlights reel, and an “old timers” game reel!

If you would like to help preserve Spartan history and get this footage preserved and digitized for online access, please consider donating to the MSU Film and Video Preservation Fund ( More information about the Film Fund can be found here:

Written by Matthew Wilcox, Audiovisual Archivist

Editor’s note: Dr. Blanche Martin was interviewed for MSU’s Sesquicentennial Oral History Project in 2000.  The recording and transcripts are available on our On the Banks of the Red Cedar website:


MSU Board of Trustees, 1969. (standing L to R) Don Stevens, Frank Hartman, Warren Huff, Frank Thompson (sitting L to R) Stephen Nisbet, Blanche Martin, C. Allen Harlan, Frank Merriman

Upcoming Holiday Schedule

15 12 2016

Co-eds by the Rock during the winter of 1947-1948

Due to the upcoming Holidays, we have modifications to our Reading Room hours.

December 19-20:  By Appointment Only

December 21: Closed

December 22: By Appointment Only

December 23: Closed

December 26: Closed

December 27: By Appointment Only

December 28: Closed

December 29: By Appointment Only

December 30: Closed

January 2, 2017: Closed

Please contact the University Archives as soon as possible if you need to do research on the dates listed as “By Appointment Only” above.  Turn around on email and telephone reference questions may be longer than usual during this two week span. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

We will resume normal Reading Room hours on January 3, 2017.  Please check our website for hours during the Spring 2017 semester.

Happy Holidays!


Cowles House surrounded by snow, late 1940s (A000478)

As the Semester Ends, It’s Time to Review Your Records!

7 11 2016

As we move closer to the end of the semester, it may be a good time to review your records and determine what you should keep in your office or transfer to the Archives in preparation for next year.

The Records Management Program is happy to accept transfer of both temporary and permanent records in paper format. We also accept transfer of permanent records in electronic format. Both permanent and temporary records can be sent to the Archives through our transfer process.

Permanent records have important historical value to the university and may include items such as meeting minutes, videos, reports, presentations, speeches, photographs, scrapbooks, and organizational histories. These records will be processed by the Archives and eventually become part of the University’s historical collection.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATemporary records need to be retained for a specific period of time, and then can be destroyed once the retention period is met. Retention periods are set by the University’s records retention schedules. Please review the schedules for these retention periods. Temporary records sent to the Archives for storage will be retained until the end of their retention period; the Archives will then contact your office for approval to destroy the records. You may also destroy eligible temporary records in your office by completing and submitting an in-office records destruction form. Temporary records may include documents such as fiscal documents, student files, personnel files, search committee documentation, and general files.

If it has been a while since you have transferred records to the Archives, don’t worry. The Records Management program has developed three new video tutorials to assist you with records management forms and procedures.

These new videos cover three important topics:

These videos can also be found on the Archives website.

Whether you are new to the records management process or simply need a refresher, these tutorials will provide you with detailed instructions for completing key records management processes.

For additional information on transferring records to the Archives, please review the Archives website. You may also contact the University Archives at or 517-355-2330 for assistance.

Written by Hillary Gatlin, University Records Manager