A Word from the Editor

I have felt so honored to read through the decade of issues of The Setonian. My life has been consumed by microfilm and old newspapers – college newspapers. I have been led on multiple paths. The Setonian weaved a collection of stories, all of which define common notions when studying the 1960s.

I marched down South Orange Avenue for a college newspaper in defense of freedom of speech. I witnessed the long-awaited arrival of women on a college campus that desperately needed them. I read news story after news story and was bombarded with advertisements – many of which were mundane, but a few were dangerous. Despite their danger, I trusted The Setonian to guide me. I watched Seton Hall experience the turbulent Sixties, gasped when they did, wept when they did, cheered when they did. I felt the pain and frustration of a student body who desperately wanted a break from reality through the sport of basketball but was denied. And I slept on a bus with Walter Dukes as he not only beat all other challengers in 1953 but Jim Crow as well.

I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Austin DelSontro. I am a senior at Seton Hall University. I majored in History, Political Science, and Philosophy, with a minor in Economics. The throughline for me between all these fields is the stories of people. That is why I was drawn to tell these stories. This is my Time Machines Project. In a sense, it is a literal time machine. It was my hope to take the reader back to the 1960s (and a little further than that) and retell certain stories of the time. Give the reader a glimpse into the past.

I have never written for The Setonian, something which I have come to regret terribly. I also was generally unaware of the importance of a college newspaper. Not only are college newspapers a very valuable piece of history, but, as I have come to learn, they also play an unbelievably important role in a college community.

The Setonian plays an incredible and necessary role in the everyday lives of students, even if they do not realize it. Reading The Setonian, a student can be introduced to happenings around campus that might not normally have been made known. The Setonian details sporting news, campus life, problems. The Setonian also gives the students a voice. The Setonian voices student displeasure with certain controversies as well as their important role in allowing student protests to be known.

This is not exclusive to the 1960s. The Setonian has continued to serve as a vehicle for students. Not simply trivial information but real knowledge. Knowledge that serves what a university ought to do: foster young minds. The Setonian acts as a vehicle to give power to the words of the youth. A recurring theme throughout my reading of The Setonian: apathy. Numerous editorials and columns condemn the existence of apathy from a student base. Again, this is not an exclusive problem of the 1960s or in an abstract historical sense. Apathy from youth continues to exist today. As the 1960s are indicative of, when the youth cares – when the youth really cares – radical change is possible.

On the first edition of The Setonian in 1924, the newspaper advised, “Get behind the paper, and it will live; neglect your duty and it will soon pass into oblivion.” Seton Hall has continually gotten behind the paper, despite our student body’s tendency for apathy. This paper is something students at Seton Hall care about.

Current editor-in-chief Emma Thumann stated, “Newspapers are part of the essential service of keeping the public informed of what is happening and how they may be affected. Student-run college newspapers, especially The Setonian, are no exception. Student journalism is journalism.” The Setonian exists as an organ for the student body by the student body.

The previous editor-in-chief Daniel O’Connor believed it was the job of The Setonian to remind Seton Hall of its purpose. On the very first issue, over a hundred years ago, The Setonian stated “the aim and purpose of The Setonian [is] to cultivate, nourish, and bring to fruition such loyalty and devotion to glorious Old Setonia and all she stands for.”

O’Connor believed The Setonian reminded Seton Hall of its purpose “in 1964 when President Rev. Dougherty suspended The Setonian for being too critical of administrative priorities.” Then also “in 2005 and 2015, after the school’s mistreatment of LGBT students and faculty.” Then again “in 2022, by students accusing their RAs of assault.” Throughout these events, it has been The Setonian guiding the campus.

The Setonian is not merely an informant for the students; it can also be a conduit for change, a guardian of transparency, and a champion of student voice. In every issue published, in every story told, it reaffirms its commitment to fostering an informed, reflective, and active campus culture. As Seton Hall, its many joys and challenges included, continues to navigate the complexities of the world, The Setonian stands as a testament to the power of student journalism in shaping the conscience of the university. In its pages, we find not only news but a call to action—a reminder of what the goal of higher education should be.

There are so many people I want to thank. From the Walsh Gallery employees, from Sarah Ponichtera to Jeanne Brasile to Quinn Christie to Jackie Deppe to Martha Slomczeweski to Stephen Bacchetta, to Dr. Sara Fieldston for advising my project to Dr. Dermot Quinn for his enlightening Seton Hall University: A History, 1856–2006 to all the editors of The Setonian past and present to my girlfriend Noelia for listening to my raving about newspapers from the 60s, this project could not have been possible without so many people.

I know this work will not be beyond reproach. There are sure to be a couple of errors. And I am aware that 1953 is not a part of the 1960s. However, this work serves as a collection of the ever-present themes found in the 1960s. An ever-important decade in bringing about change, not just at Seton Hall, nor just in the United States of America, but the entire world at large. Enjoy!

Racism, Fights, Brawls… Champions: A Retrospective on the First National Champions in Seton Hall History (1952-53)

The 23 January 1953 edition of The Setonian proudly proclaimed, “PIRATES BEST IN NATION,” as its headlining story. On 19 January, the Seton Hall basketball team was ranked #1 in the nation by the Associated Press poll for the first time in history. It marked a run of 7 weeks atop the national rankings; it was the only time the basketball team has ever spent as #1.

After “the Pirates [had] swept through their first 18 games unbeaten,” the team was rewarded by being “voted No. 1 in sweep of every major basketball poll.” A month later, the streak was extended to 27 victories. The 18 February 1953 edition of The Setonian declared, “BUCS CONTINUE RAMPAGE.”

Coach John “Honey” Russell was the one who “[guided] the destiny of the 1952-53 Seton Hall hardwood five.” The Pirates themselves were led by their top players: Richie Regan, Harry Brooks, and Walter Dukes. Their point guard was Richie Regan who was nicknamed “The Cat” for his quickness and guile as a playmaker. Brooks was their shooting guard, who was third on the team in points per game.

Their best player was Walter Dukes, a 7-foot All-American phenom who averaged 26 points per game and a staggering 22 rebounds per game. However, Dukes was not just any phenom – he was a black superstar in the pre-Brown v. Board of Education world. Dukes not only was the star of his basketball team, but he also dealt with racist taunts, extra-sharp elbows and unkind refs’ whistles.

As the team neared the end of its season, it embarked on a road trip where they would play both Dayton and Louisville. As The Setonian noted, “the Pirates beaten [these] quintets at South Orange earlier this year but [both teams] will undoubtedly offer a more serious challenge playing on their own ‘floor’.” A more serious challenge would end up being an understatement.

When the Pirates arrived in Dayton, Dukes was barred from spending the night at the hotel the team had booked. The hotel was a whites-only hotel. As a result, the team elected to spend the night on the team bus rather than stay in the racist hotel.  After an exhausting and uncomfortable night on the bus, the Pirates played a sloppy game and lose 65-71.

After a dispiriting upset at the hands of Dayton, the Pirates traveled to Louisville, Kentucky. While the Pirates had previously beaten them 77-66, it was an ugly victory marked by Louisville players spewing hate and trying to goad Dukes into a fight. Upon their arrival in Louisville, the Pirates are met with an intimidating mob of crazed Cardinals fans, alongside locals. The police, present at the scene, opted not to intervene, permitting the tension to escalate.

The Pirates knew they had to spend the night on the bus again. However, the mob never disperses. This night was even more exhausting and unnerving. The players were kept up all night by the crowd that surrounds them. All throughout the night, the mob pounded on the windows.

The game the following day was violent from the start. The atmosphere was one of hatred. As Richie Regan later said, “We were scared stiff; 7,500 vs. 12.” Life Magazine reported that the players “went after each other with elbows, body blocks and half nelsons” and things escalated after “a head-on collision left Dukes dazed and prostrate on the floor.” This was violent, more akin to a fight than a basketball game.

Whenever Dukes touched the ball, Louisville’s players guarded him rough. As Brooks recalled, at one point during the game, “Walter got the ball, and this guy (a Louisville forward) popped him in the jaw. Dukes went down, we lost the ball and Walter was called for walking.” Despite this, he still finished the game with a staggering 35 points.

When the buzzer sounded, Louisville had beaten Seton Hall, 73-67. Dukes was lining up for a traditional post-game handshake when boos and then racial slurs rained down on him. Out of nowhere, the first punch knocked him to his knees. Mayhem ensued. Fists everywhere. Blood-smeared jerseys. Players sprawled on the hardwood. Fans rushed onto the court in a rage. The postgame handshakes had escalated into a brawl involving players and fans. A Louisville player lunged at a Seton Hall player, and the Seton Hall player responded with a punch. In the mayhem, it was unclear who exactly started the brawl.

Three priests who had been traveling with Seton Hall rushed Dukes off the court, but the fighting continued. Seton Hall’s Mickey Hannon was clobbered in the back of his head and collapsed, out cold. The New York Times reported, “Several players were bruised and cut tonight in a fight that broke out [between] the University of Louisville and Seton Hall.” Harry Brooks “was taken to a hospital to see if stiches would be needed to close a gashed lip.” Brooks would end up needed 13 stitches. The Louisville police finally intervened to get Hannon and Brooks into the locker room and the team onto the train. One of the most shocking photos in NCAA Basketball history appeared in the 16 March 1953 edition of Life Magazine on page 118 where Hannon is shown unconscious on the hardwood floor.

In the aftermath of the game, The Setonian coverage of the road trip noticeably was missing any information about the brawl, as well as the Pirates brush with segregation. There was no mention of the highly publicized brawl nor Brooks’ stiches. The tyranny of Jim Crow was not mentioned as playing a factor. The newspaper even wrote, “Seton Hall offers no excuse for either game extending only the highest praise to the combined work of their conquerors.”

Their headline for their road trip recap read simply: “Dayton and Louisville Pull Upsets As Skein Ends at 27.” The Setonian wrote, “Although the pair of setbacks were viewed by all Setonia rooters with deep regret and considerable sadness, they did not come as a complete surprise.” The campus newspaper points to “the pressure and tension” which comes from an undefeated season. They believed the Pirates to be “a great team,” but argued “not great enough to win them all.” However, they took solace in the fact that “nobody else ever did that in one season” before.

The Setonian instead looked forward to the National Invitation Tournament (NIT). Specifically, the Pirates had one team they wanted to face: Louisville. However, they needed to defeat their first-round opponent to get to a theoretical matchup with Louisville in the second round. The Pirates barely survived their first game against Niagara. They won 79-74, but it is one of the sloppiest games they have played all season. Dukes fouled out with 8 minutes left in the game. They lucked out in their victory. But the Pirates were more upset that Louisville actually lost their first-round matchup and there would be no rematch.

The Pirates then blow out Manhattan 74-56 in the semifinal game and take down St. John’s 58-46 in the championship game. Walter leads the way. Regan hoists the NIT Championship Trophy and then hands it to Walter, the tournament MVP. Seton Hall finished 31-2 and remains the only New Jersey college basketball team that can lay claim to a national title. Walter Dukes pulled down 734 rebounds in the 1952-53 season, an NCAA D-1 record that still stands to this day.

In the shadow of a tumultuous season marred by racism, fights, and brawls, the 1952-53 Seton Hall basketball team emerged as more than just national champions. The adversities they faced on and off the court—ranging from segregationist policies to outright violence—underscore the profound impact sports can have in illuminating societal issues and fostering dialogue. Walter Dukes and his teammates’ resilience in the face of such hostility not only highlighted their athletic prowess but also their unwavering spirit.

In 2017, after the entire championship team was inducted in the Seton Hall Athletics Hall of Fame, The Setonian reflected on the squad: “The 1952-53 men’s basketball team went through it all. From dealing with racial taunts directed at All-American center Walter Dukes to a brawl at Louisville that left Mickey Hannon lying unconscious on the floor, it still managed to persevere and win an NIT Championship.”

Their journey, from unbeaten streaks to heartbreaking setbacks, and ultimately to claiming the national title, illustrates the power of sports. As Seton Hall’s first national champions, their legacy transcends the boundaries of the basketball court, reminding us of the role sports can play in challenging societal norms and paving the way for change.

The Lost Decade of Seton Hall Basketball: A Point Shaving Scandal and the De-Emphasis of Basketball

In 1961, scandal struck Seton Hall. A week after the end of the 1961 college basketball season ended, the headline on the 23 March 1961 edition of The Setonian read, “Gunter, Hicks Questioned By N.Y.D.A In Alleged Fix; ‘Other Schools Definitely Involved’ – Hall Stunned.” It was shocking to say the least. As The Setonian noted, “the alleged ‘fix’ involved two Seton Hall University basketball players: Arthur Hicks and Henry Gunter.”

New York district attorney Frank Hogan discovered this scandal “involved 37 different players from 22 schools.” According to The Setonian, Hicks and Gunter were offered bribes of $1,000 and $1,500 on two separate occasions, if not more, to ensure Seton Hall would lose certain games by a certain number of points. It is important to note that Hicks and Gunter were considered the two best players on the 1960-61 squad.

Just the week prior, The Setonian had reviewed the college basketball season, noting how “Regan guided Hall to a winning season.” It was Seton Hall basketball legend Richie Regan’s first season as head coach. He was a part of the championship winning team of 1952-53. He replaced his former Hall of Fame coach Honey Russell. In Coach Regan’s first season, the team went 15-9. It was a respectable record, but one that many students were excited to build upon.

However, this scandal eliminated any possibility of such building. On 10 September 1961, President Doughtery made an announcement “concerning the future basketball policy of Seton Hall University.” It was a three-pronged policy:

  1. The University will restrict its competition in basketball to schools in the New England and Middle States area.
  2. The University will not participate in any basketball tournaments, either during or after the regular season.
  3. All home basketball games will be played in the University gymnasium and not in any public arena.

These policies were to go into effect immediately. These were “internal sanctions imposed on the program.” While initially the tournament bans were indefinite, they would eventually be clarified to “a plan where no postseason invitations would be accepted for 10 years or in-season tournaments for 5.” This plan became known as a “de-emphasis of basketball.” As a result, “there were fewer scholarships, and limited media coverage was given until the early 1970s.”

At first, the scandal and the subsequent de-emphasis cause many writers for The Setonian to look backward to the basketball greats of yesteryear. In an article titled “Former Greats Remembered As Big Ball Era Terminates,” The Setonian discussed many of the brightest basketball moments in Pirate history. From Bobby Wagner to Richie Regan to Walter Dukes, The Setonian sought to reminisce on the good old days of Seton Hall basketball history.

This was especially heartbreaking for freshman hooper Nick Werkman. As a freshman during the 1960-61 season, he was not allowed to play for the Varsity squad as the NCAA did not allow freshmen to play for Varsity teams, despite being by all accounts “the best player on campus.”

Known as “Nick the Quick,” “Tricky Nick,” and “the Twist,” Nick Werkman is the second most prolific player in Seton Hall basketball history behind the great Walter Dukes. Werkman scored 2,273 career points. Werkman “led the Pirates in scoring for three straight years with a 32-point-per-game average.” Werkman also was close to the top of the nation for his scoring averages, “ranking third in 1962, second in 1964, and first in 1963 with individual season averages of 32, 33.2, and 29.5, respectfully.” However, all this individual success came without any chance for postseason glory.

In an interview from 2019, Werkman revealed his belief that “in hindsight I made a mistake” in deciding to stay at Seton Hall after the post season ban. Werkman stated, “I probably should have changed schools because I did not realize how damaging it would be to my career.” Werkman was incredibly popular at the Hall, and “many people have said [he] saved the program.” Despite how celebrated Werkman was, all of his accomplishments – from leading the nation in scoring to becoming the first Pirate to score 50 points in a single game to numerous All-American selections – came without the possibility of becoming a champion.

Throughout the years of the 60s, The Setonian made numerous attempts to drum up interest in the basketball program, despite the program’s inability to contend for postseason glory. In the 13 December 1962 edition, there was a basketball special released. The special edition explored the team, the history of the program, the coaches, and the opponents. There were numerous interviews with Coach Regan throughout the decade, all of which pleaded for the same thing: school spirit and pride in the basketball team.  Attendance was consistently low during the 60s, specifically after the great Werkman graduated.

In 1965, the University, after years of pressure from the student body, finally agreed to end the tournament ban. The 25 February 1965 edition of The Setonian celebrated, “SHU ENDS TOURNAMENT BAN.” The newspaper noted, “The imploring of this ban originally was due to the actions of a few individuals. This hindered the spirit of the school and continued to detract from the reputation of Seton Hall.”

Students offered mixed opinions to The Setonian, from “I care?” to “the lifting of the ban will be an impetus to school spirit” to “the lifting of the ban should have occurred three years earlier.” Another was quoted advising the administration “to improve the recruiting program” to include the “best basketball players.”

However, despite the lifting of the tournament bans, basketball continued to be de-emphasized at Seton Hall. It would not be until the 1973-1974 team that Seton Hall would “earn its first NIT bid since 1957.” It took a while for Seton Hall to regain its status as a basketball school. In explanation of student frustration with the administration, many often cited the de-emphasis of basketball as a reason for student discontent. Eight years after becoming national champions, Seton Hall University tore its storied program down, much to the dismay of its student body.

How Setonia Saw the Tumultuous Sixties

The 1960s were a revolutionary time. The ‘60s were a tumultuous decade defined by the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement, technological advances, and the emerging generation gap and the rise of counterculture movements. At Seton Hall University, the 1960s were similarly a revolutionary time for the Catholic college.

The Setonian went through numerous changes throughout the decade. They changed their masthead numerous times. They included certain columns while others faded to history. Reading the issues during the decade, one will notice how popular television and cinema became by the end of the decade. In the early Sixties, there would be book reviews. By the end of the transformative decade, these book reviews turned into film and television reviews.

There were three presidential elections between 1960 and 1970. In each of these elections, The Setonian ran a mock election. Overwhelmingly, the Democratic candidate would win these elections. In 1960, Setonia voted for John F. Kennedy over Richard Nixon. In 1964, the student body supported Lyndon B. Johnson over Barry Goldwater. There was, however, a Setonian editor who wrote repeated columns for Goldwater to no avail.

And in 1968, the student body broke with Johnson before Johnson declined to run again. They first supported Robert Kennedy before his death, after which they pledged support for the anti-war Senator from Minnesota Eugene McCarthy. However, when Vice President Hubert Humphrey won the nomination, the student body voted for Humphrey over the eventual winner Richard Nixon. The Setonian also affirmed its disgust for third party candidate George Wallace. It is yet another way The Setonian proved itself as a trusted source of information for the student body.

Seton Hall felt the deaths and assassinations of the 1960s particularly hard. As a Catholic university, Seton Hall mourned heavily for President Kennedy. The Setonian wrote numerous eulogies. The Setonian mourned for “Young America” when Kennedy was assassinated. The young President was named “America’s American.” It was proclaimed that even though “dedicated JFK is gone, his spirit will live.” A few years later, before his brother and potential Democratic nominee Robert Kennedy was assassinated in the summer of 1968, The Setonian threw their support behind him.  In the weeks leading up to the 1968 Election, the newspaper lamented how the death of Robert Kennedy ensured the election of Richard Nixon.

The entire campus was shocked when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. Seton Hall held a “Requiem Mass [for] Dr. King” which “evoked the air of sadness” across campus. University President Bishop John J. Doughtery “spoke of a troubled America” – one that is “a little sadder, more shaken, and more ashamed.” The Setonian reported that “all men wept” in attendance. In an editorial, The Setonian discussed the “legacy of Dr. King.” In even stronger terms than how they described President Kennedy, Dr King “was a unique leader, a unique American, and a unique human being.” Even though “he is dead, the ideals he so ardently stood for live on in the hearts of sincere men.”

The Setonian, as a reflection of the student body, always expressed solidarity with civil rights groups. Even going as far back as the 1950s, The Setonian wrote against segregation. In 1951, in response to Texas Western College sending a letter to Loyola University asking them to remove two black students from their football team ahead of their game, Loyola University decided to boycott the game as they would rather forfeit the game, then perpetrate the continued discrimination of black students. The Setonian decided to weigh in on the race discrimination conversation.

The Setonian asked, “What has happened to the moral standards of college athletic events?” The editorial hoped that “this discriminatory problem has found no harness at Seton Hall” but acknowledged how it “has seeped its way into other colleges and universities.” In all caps, this editorial finished with a message: “RACE DISCRIMINATIONHAS NO PLACE IN… SPORTS BECAUSE THE BASIC PRINCIPLES OF SPORTSMANSHIP CONTAIN EQUAL RIGHTSFOR ALL CREEDS, ALL COLORS, AND ALL FAITHS!”

Such sentiments carried over into the 1960s. Editorials would be written in support of the Civil Rights Movement, where de facto segregation would be attacked. In March of 1965, “a group of approximately 350 Seton Hall students, faculty, and administrators held a silent protest and empathy march on behalf of… the Selma [march].” In what was called Seton Hall’s “March to Newark,” Setonia showed her solidarity with the Selma March in “expressions of sympathy and protest.”

Like many colleges and universities in the 1960s, the student body at Setonia was one full of protests. Besides the Setonian protest, there were numerous other protests to varying degrees of magnitude. There were numerous complaints about the cafeteria food leading to a boycott of the food served for a brief period in 1965. The Selma protest was just one that led the student body to Newark. Additionally, in response to the Newark Race Riots, there was an effort by students at Seton Hall to show support. There was also a Newark Peace Walk over the Vietnam War, with The Setonian offering numerous editorials over what it called “Viet Bankruptcy.”

Additionally, The Setonian offered numerous complaints over the lack of parking found on the Seton Hall campus. In early 1968, The Setonian noted that “there are less than 1,700 parking spaces on the campus.” Factoring in the rotation of students between morning, afternoon, and night classes, The Setonian figured “no more than 2,300 parking passes should be issued.” However, as investigated, “3,000 decals have been issued and nearly 1,000 more are available.” A funny picture was produced comparing parking at Seton Hall to Monopoly. The artist called it Setonopoly. Another graphic from the 12 December 1968 edition of The Setonian tried to show “where has all your money gone.”

In 1968, “a new era at Seton Hall University began.” Women arrived in the spring semester after the closure of the Newark satellite campus. With the Class of 1972 arriving in the fall, there were incoming freshmen female students on the South Orange campus for the first time in Seton Hall history. A 1963 depiction of “the complete university” showed female students on the South Orange campus as the missing piece of Seton Hall.

Setonian celebrated the diversity of this class of ‘72. It noted the “numerous distinctions” of the Class as “Texas and Idaho now have female representation on campus while Japan, Taiwan, Germany, Malaysia, and Italy sent representatives of both sexes to the Hall.” The 1960s were in fact revolutionary, especially at Seton Hall. It ushered in a new era indeed.

Joe Seton Says: Ever The Contrarian

Who is Joe Seton? He started as a comic in the 1949 edition of The Setonian. He “was born in the imagination of Vahn Shirvanian, a member of the class of ’50.”  Vahn became a successful cartoonist, at numerous points winning the National Cartoonist Society’s most outstanding honor for “Best Gag Cartoonist of the Year.”

But before that, he “drew a series of cartoons using Joe Seton as the main character and hero.” As The Setonian explains on Joe Seton’s 10th anniversary, “in these cartoons, fun was poked at everything and everyone,” including “registration difficulties, stickers on windshields, being late for class, and general student capers.”

After Shirvanian graduated, Joe Seton was last seen in the 1950 Galleon. However, in 1952, Joe Seton grew into a semi-regular column called “Joe Seton Says.” The Setonian called it “one of the most popular sections.” They even went as far as to say that this column “seems to be the first page that readers turn to.”

The column was “[all] at once informative, entertaining, and philosophical.” More apt descriptors would be satirical and paradoxical. Again, The Setonian notes, “since the mood of the column changes with the weather, so does student opinion.” Joe Seton will talk and mock just about anything.

For example, in one particular week, Joe Seton “took it upon himself to make a personal visit to the North Pole to interview Kris Kringle.” Joe Seton had wanted to know what Seton Hall was getting for Christmas. These columns could be silly chicanery like that. Other times it would be a mocking of the cafeteria food that week.

Throughout the 50s, there were a lot of these relatively harmless jokes. Occasionally, there would be more biting sarcasm. However, such sarcasm was reserved mainly for the student body. One such example mocks the idealistic nature of college students. In the column, Joe wrote about a hypothetical conversation between a student and a parent, where the student does not really have a plan on what they “are going to do after graduation.” This hypothetical student was to “join SANE and rid the world of nuclear weapons.” When pressed how he would support himself, the student replies, “By teaching volunteers for the Peace Corps.”

In an interview with Joe Seton’s creator Vahn Shirvanian in 1959, Shirvanian “pointed out one difference between Joe Seton of today and yesteryear: he now wears a tie.” In an ironic twist of foreshadowing, The Setonian editors “promptly told Vahn that Seton Hall is now a University and the administration insisted upon [formal wear].”  It would be Joe Seton’s 1964 column, which mocked the University’s stringent dress code that got The Setonian suspended.

In the early 60s, there was a shift. The pointless and harmless comedy of the columns was increasingly replaced by the sardonic columns. One proposed “a cure for apathy.” Joe Seton discusses how he “started to think the other day (a Seton Hall first).” In Joe’s estimation, “the only cure [for apathy in student government elections] would be to have a Student King.” Such a king “would be appointed by the Bishop… and, of course, be a puppet leader.” Once again mocking the intellect of the student body, “the King would be guaranteed straight C grades (this is to raise him above the masses).” The obvious joke is that if the student body does not recognize and take advantage of their privileges to vote, such a privilege would be taken away.

Slowly, the receiver of Joe Seton’s scorn became the administration of the university. They had been targeted previously but for occasional, trivial matters like cafeteria food and problems with parking. In 1962, Joe Seton discussed how “the Administration seems to give the students an inch and then take two away.” In this column, he boldly states, “Just as Hitler took Poland, the minds and emotions of educated Setonians have been awayed” by the administration.

Under the Editor-in-Chief from 1963-64, Rocco Di Pietro, The Setonian was to “stress features.” They created a short-lived, similar column to Joe Seton Says in Marvin Moneywater, Campus Conservative. He played a similar character as Joe Seton but was staunchly more “conservative.” It was a bit redundant with Joe Seton’s existence, but now there were two columns which lampooned the administration, oftentimes week after week.

As mentioned in the cover story, Joe Seton’s column on the 20 February 1964 edition announced a satirical “Notice to All Students.” This column was the last straw. After weeks of mockery and what President Doughtery referred to as “an unwholesome spirit of cynicism,” Joe Seton, among other reasons, got The Setonian suspended.

It was the last time Joe Seton appeared as a regular column in The Setonian. He made brief appearances throughout the decade. However, he no longer was a staple of the newspaper. His words did not have the same punch. He was no longer as witty. The later half of the 1960s showed Joe Seton’s age. It’s funny; it’s almost as if he belonged to a bygone generation.

Joe Seton is best described as a contrarian. He made irreverent remarks that really amounted to nothing. He stirred the pot just to say he did. His column existed as a vehicle for The Setonian to vent their frustration of the week and drop it. However, Joe Seton does hold an important place in The Setonian history – specifically in the 60s.


For years, one of the hallmarks of The Setonian were full page cigarette ads. However, with the return of The Setonian in 1964, one thing was noticeably absent: Those “large, attractive cigarette ads.”

In 1964, the National Advertising Service, which controls regulations relating to college newspapers, passed a new restriction of these advertisements. As the 8 May 1964 edition of The Setonian informs its reader: “The National Advertising Service recognized the health hazard in cigarette smoking and did not want to take the responsibility for encouraging young people to smoke.”

This regulatory code hoped to impose limitations in three principal areas of advertising, most notably appeals to the youth. As the New York Times reported, “The code would ban cigarette ads from college media and from television shows directed mainly at persons under 21 years of age.”

The decision to restrict cigarette advertising in college newspapers marks a significant moment in the intersection of public health advocacy and media. The restriction reflects a growing awareness of the health risks associated with cigarette smoking and an early societal shift towards taking proactive measures to protect young people from these dangers. By targeting advertising practices, the regulation aimed to reduce the appeal of smoking to youth, acknowledging the powerful influence of media on behaviors and attitudes.

Many of the cigarette ads in the past had featured celebrities or athletes encouraging readers to smoke their favorite cigarette brands. Other ads featured glamorization of the act of smoking itself, even offering health benefits that by no means were real. Sometimes these cigarette ads placed historical figures at the center of the ad.

While the regulation is a noble attempt to curtail the ill effects from cigarette smoking, the absence of cigarette ads means a loss of revenue for The Setonian. The result: a loss of “over $2,000 worth of national advertising while there was no increase in the University allotment to the paper.”

The editors of The Setonian attempt to solve this problem by asking its readers: “Lose anything lately? Club meeting coming up soon? Want to make an announcement?” In an effort to raise revenue, The Setonian turned to local advertisements and also its very own readers. Not many students took advantage though. The Setonian ended up cutting its pages from 10–12 to 6.

Eventually, The Setonian would approach that 10–12-page count again. However, it needed new full-page advertisements to help keep it operating. It found replacements of its cigarette ads in the form of more United States military ads, local advertisements, caffeine pills, as well as, rather controversially, political advertisements.

In 1968, a seemingly inconspicuous ad appeared in the 25 September edition of The Setonian, entitled, “COURAGE.” The ad starts out innocently enough, stating that “in a crisis, it takes courage to be a leader… courage to speak out.” However, directly next to the bold typed words of courage is a picture of presidential candidate, and noted racist, Geroge Wallace. This was an ad for the Youth for Wallace.

The ad continued, “If American is to survive this crisis… if the youth of American are to inherit a sane and even promising world, we must have courageous and constructive leadership – the kind of leadership that only George C. Wallace of all presidential candidates has to offer.” The ad played on what are now classic electioneering tropes of encouraging readers “to stand up for America against the pseudo intellectual professors, the hippies, the press, and the entire liberal Establishment.”

The student body of Seton Hall were understandably upset over the inclusion of an ad for such a hateful program. On the next edition of The Setonian, an editorial was written addressing the concerns that the inclusion of the Wallace ad “was an endorsement of the Wallace campaign.”  The editorial affirmed that the advertisement was just “a paid political advertisement,” and nothing more. Even further the editorial addressed the numerous “Letters to the Editors” which demanded answers over the inclusion of the advertisement in an emphatic statement: “We of The Setonian, in fact, violently reject [Wallace’s] candidacy. His candidacy is a threat to the very democracy which he claims to support.”

In an ironic sense, it is telling to see that the removal of dangerous cigarette ads which encouraged young people to smoke was replaced by an equally, if not more, dangerous advertisement for one of the most outspoken and overtly racists of the time. The emphatic rejection of Wallace, despite the advertisement, showed the importance of The Setonian as a source of information for the student body. The Setonian showed that no matter who paid for ads, the newspaper intended to remain an unbiased source.


On 27 February 1964, Seton Hall University President John J. Dougherty announced the suspension of the campus newspaper, The Setonian. The suspension of the campus newspaper lasted 7 weeks, necessitated a rewrite of the bylaws of The Setonian constitution, and resulted in an entirely new editorial board. The reason: some mocking over the university’s strict regulations.

It was quite the departure from the warm welcome The Setonian gave President Doughtery in 1959, writing, “We wish for a close and understanding association between our new president and student body.” Even after a basketball scandal that rocked the Seton Hall campus in 1961, and its controversial punishments, The Setonian still expressed pride in the fact that “Seton Hall Now Is Only Catholic University with Bishop-President.”

However, the strict rules piled up and students began to use The Setonian to voice their frustration. From multiple “Letters to Editors” to controversial editorials from staff members, The Setonian became a way for students to express their frustration with the administration’s seemingly archaic standards. Such restrictions that drew the ire of students included the wearing of beards, the enforced formal dress code, the decision to de-emphasize basketball, and the banning of female guests in off campus apartments, among other rules.

The straw that broke the camel’s back happened in early February 1964 when two Seton Hall students were threatened with expulsion for having beards, prompting outrage from a large and vocal percentage of the student body. Because of this threat by the administration, the 20 February 1964 edition of The Setonian announced a satirical “Notice to All Students,” including such rules as:

All individuality must be lost on joining the Seton Hall family. Strive to be a cog in the machine.

Students must dress as uncomfortably as possible, i.e., suit jacket and tie must be worn to class.

Students must shave daily. Hair may be no longer than 2.31 inches (Found to be the average length at Princeton.)

Absolutely no females are permitted in off campus apartments. This includes mothers, nuns, sisters, wives, cafeteria workers and Mrs. Bayer….

Possession of alcoholic beverages or glue will result in immediate defamation of character by local newspapers in addition to expulsion….

Sneakers will no longer be tolerated….

On the same edition, “Marvin Outlines Right Look in ’64,” The Setonian even further mocks the administration by stating “Beardliness is next to Devilishness.” Here “Marvin,” in a tone draped in condescension, asserts that “Hair in itself is not an evil” rather “it is only when it is worn in excess that it becomes sinful.” As proof, “Marvin” lists noted “Atheists and Communists” who “had worn beards in our history” like Marx, Frued, Hemingway, Darwin, Shakespeare, and Castro, among other.

In the wake of this controversial edition, and a similarly mocking 27 February 1964 edition, President Dougherty believed the best course of action was to suspend the newspaper indefinitely. Or at least until April “when, under normal circumstances, The Setonian staff undergoes reorganization.”

President Dougherty, who actually served as an associate editor for the 1928 edition of The Setonian, believed that “an unwholesome spirit of cynicism [had] characterized too many of [The Setonian] articles.” He condemned the paper had become something of direct opposition to “the philosophy and theology to which the University [was] committed.”

To say the student body was less than enthused would be a dramatic understatement. With estimates ranging from 500 to 1000 students, the students at Seton Hall protested the suspension. The students started by chanting “We Want a Newspaper” outside of the administration building. When that was met with silence, the students marched down South Orange Avenue, disrupting traffic, with shouts of “Freedom of the Press.”

When confronted by the police and firemen, the students began throwing snowballs. Some of these snowballs had been snow covered rocks. One of the firemen “suffered face cuts” when hit by one of these snowballs. The firemen and policemen retaliated by spraying a low pressured hose at the protesters forcing them back on campus.

While this helped clear the streets, the demonstration attracted local press. Newspapers covered the protests over the suspension of The Setonian, from the Newark Evening News to The Daily Pennsylvanian to The New York Times. Students, academics, alumni, and more broadly Catholics from all over the nation wrote to Bishop Doughtery to voice their opinion.

One academic wrote Doughtery in support of his actions, praising his ability to “crack down on crack-pot, irresponsible, and out of hand students.” One alumnus of the Class of 1931 wrote Doughtery advises him to be “very stern with… these students [who] are very resentful of discipline.”

Vice President Rev. Thomas Fahy believed “it [would] be a grave mistake if [the administration] does not resume publication of The Setonian as soon as a reasonable reorganization had been worked out.”  Another person wrote to President Doughtery disappointed in the “substandard intellectual atmosphere” found at Seton Hall. Associate Professor of Chemistry at Seton Hall Dr. R. T. Conley wrote to Doughtery voicing “a minority opinion”; Dr. Conley believed that the question of beards was one that had gotten out of hand. Conley believed the university by allowing students to feel more comfortable, their academic work would improve. Conley dismayed at the “shortage of unkempt geniuses” at Seton Hall.

There would not be another edition of The Setonian until 22 April 1964. Despite the resignations of the entire editorial board, President Doughtery stuck to his threat that there would not be another Setonian until standard reorganization. There was a brief attempt to create an underground newspaper called The Mole headed up by a former Setonian writer. However, after just two editions and expense operating costs the former writer ceased publication and actually sent an apology letter to President Dougherty.

Ultimately, when The Setonian returned, it was armed with a new constitution and pledges of journalistic responsibility on the part of contributors. Tensions between administration and students cooled as the unpopular strict rules and regulations were laxed. There was, at first, some tension between the staff editors and faculty moderator, Dr. Kenneth O’Leary. Dr. O’Leary had felt some tensions between himself and the staff, at one point noting that he “[seemed] to have been cast as an agent of the administration deputed to spy on their efforts and censor their efforts.” However, relations eventually thawed to the point where Dr. O’Leary helped secure a modest stipend for The Setonian editors toward the end of the decade.

The Setonian has continued publication to this day. In 1984, the newspaper interviewed two former staff members twenty years after the suspension of the paper, including the former editor in chief Rocco De Pietro. While he lamented that he essentially “got fired,” he believed there were benefits from the changes, stating, “The revisions gave The Setonian an independent and strong constitution.” De Pietro concluded his interview by affirming the importance of a campus newspaper like The Setonian, stating, “There [will always] be issues… on campus like those in the past which The Setonian must flush out.”