From 1992 to 1993, when I served on the Mustang Daily staff under editor Peter Hartlaub, we had a wealth of news – budget cuts,ÿ fatal accidents and a big scandal on the baseball team. Some animal-rights activists even liberated a good many frogs from a science lab one day, sending them hopping all over Poly.
My editorship wasn’t as newsy.ÿ Yet on several levels, nothing could compete with the story of the Kennedy Library Butt-Sniffer.
The name says it all:ÿ Reports surfaced early in fall quarter of 1993 that female students were often finding a guy – the same guy – on his hands and knees on the library rug.ÿ He would always be near them, and always rather behind them.ÿ Of course, Public Safety was having trouble catching him.
We didn’t want to make too lightly about a sexual deviant on the loose.ÿ Yet two enterprising students reacted to our initial coverage by making T-shirts for sale that carried the slogan: “Kennedy Library: No Butt-Sniffing.”ÿ (The shirts had a slashed circle, a nose … you get the idea.)ÿ I believe a few campus feminists were alarmed by that too, so we toed the middleground and headlined our centerpiece on shirts: “A Nose for Controversy.”
For a while, we thought of making “library perverts” a full-time beat. But we realized it would entail a reporter skulking around Kennedy, stickingÿtheir nose into everything.ÿ In that sense, someone already had us scooped.
John Hubbell is completing his Master of Arts in folklore, with an emphasis in Southern music, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
For the past five years, he was a national/foreign editor and political reporter at the San Francisco Chronicle.
Hubbell was the Mustang Daily editor in chief from 1993 to 1994 and news editor the previous year.