The old stump in the plaza was replaced with a new stump by the city of Fort Collins Forestry Department.
About every 10 years the stump begins to deteriorate, said Mike Ellis, the Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Executive Director of the Lory Student Center.
The city’s forestry department replaced the stump at the end of August at no cost to the school. The last time the stump was replaced was in 2007.
The stump has been a CSU tradition since 1964. Collegian employees at the time, John Hyde and Shelton Stanfill, bought the stump from a lumber yard for $4.50. The students etched the word “COLLEGIAN” into the side of the stump.
In 1967, the stump was lost. It disappeared in 1967 and was found in 1970 at Horsetooth Reservoir. Those who found the stump told the Collegian that the stump was found, but before Collegian employees could retrieve it, The stump went missing again until 1971.
Alan Worline found the stump in the house of some students. “I understand you are using the Collegian Stump for a coffee table,” Worline said when he barged into the home, according to Collegian archives.
Worline got the stump back for $10 and two cases of beer.
The stump disappeared again shortly after it was returned back to campus.
Gary Kimsey, a reporter from the Collegian, recognized the stump behind a cabin in Rustic, Colorado, 40 miles up the Poudre Canyon. The stump was a chopping block for firewood.
The stump remained on campus since the fall of 1980. Now, the stump has a plaque in place of the word “COLLEGIAN.”
The plaque says:
“WHAT IS OBJECTIONABLE, WHAT IS DANGEROUS IS NOT THAT THEY ARE EXTREME BUT THAT THEY ARE INTOLERANT.
THE EVIL IS NOT WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT THEIR CAUSE BUT WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT THEIR OPPONENTS.”
ROBERT F. KENNEDY
ASSOCIATED STUDENT OF COLORADO STATE UNIVERSITY
“We’ve tried to remain true to the original dimensions of the stump since its original placement,” Ellis said.
The original stump was three feet high and had a three foot diameter. It weighed 200 pounds and it was light brown with no bark.
The stump is a symbol for the First Amendment, specifically free speech. The stump allows students to have a platform in the plaza to speak freely, sing, yell or talk to other students. According to Collegian archives, poets, writers, musicians, politicians and priests have voiced their opinions on the stump.
Speaking on the stump is also part of the list of 70 things to do before graduation as number 18.
A complete history of the stump can be found in The First 100 Years, a book about the history of the first 100 years of the Collegian.
Collegian reporter Hailey Deaver can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @autumn_hail.