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Ask Cam

A real stumper

February 25, 2009



Question:
So Cam, whatever happened to the Stump?

Cam’s answer: Ah, the Stump – more CSU history and folklore is tied up into one chunk of wood than one wooly mascot could think possible. For the record, the Stump is still sitting out on the Lory Student Center Plaza, near the intersection of Isotope Drive and University Avenue. (That's Stephanie G'Schwind holding down the Stump in the photo. She's editor of CSU's venerable Colorado Review and director of the Center for Literary Publishing.)
 

The Stump became an important symbol of free speech on campus in the mid-1960s, according to The First 100 Years, a book chronicling the first century of the Collegian. It first appeared on campus in 1964 when Collegian staffers John Hyde and Sheldon Stanfill purchased it from a local lumber yard for $4.50 and carved “COLLEGIAN” into its side. They would roll it out into the Plaza each Friday for debates on topics of the day, mostly about Vietnam.

Around 1964, the Stump was taken to the state capitol in Denver as part of a caravan of about 4,000 students and faculty for a rally to protest a proposed $10 million cut to CSU’s budget. According to The First 100 Years, Denver police mistook the Stump for a battering ram.

The Stump has disappeared and reappeared over the past 40 years. A quick synopsis:

  • 1967: Disappeared.
  • 1970: Reappeared - found in a ravine near Horsetooth Reservoir, but disappeared before it could be recovered and brought back to the Plaza.
  • 1971: Reappeared - was being used as a coffee table in a home of students. Bought for $10 and two cases of beer and returned to the Plaza.
  • Mid-1970s: Disappeared again.
  • 1980: Reappeared - was being used as a firewood chopping block behind a cabin near Rustic.
  • 1992: The Stump was replaced with a new stump provided by the Fort Collins City Forester’s Office to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Associated Students of CSU.

Just try and stump me,
Cam