Dr. Laura and the Statesman

A byline from Laura Schlessinger during her time at the Statesman

Stony Brook University alum Laura Schlessinger has been in the news, and not for anything good.

Her racist, n-word laden rant on air last week created a firestorm in the media, and led to her early retirement from the airwaves.

Turns out, for almost two years Laura Schlessinger wrote a handful of articles for the Statesman. She never rose above the position of staff writer, but her work made several appearances on the front page of the paper.

Most of what Schlessinger covered was mundane campus news, but one story she wrote–her first, as far as we can tell–is especially ironic.

“Two Freshmen Guilty of Showing Obscenity,” reads the headline. In the fall of 1964, two students carved what is described as an “obscene” word onto a pumpkin, which was then displayed in an H Quad window.

The issue was big enough to warrant a campus judicial hearing, and the two students were found guilty and punished. But it is Schlessinger’s report that is noteworthy, herself now facing the consequences of publicly using inappropriate language.

“Two freshmen girls, found guilty of ‘performing an act which openly outrages public decency, i.e., by displaying an obscene word in their window, they behaved in a manner contrary to behavior of responsible and mature university students’ were sentenced to be campused,” writes Schlessinger, unaware of just how ironic those words would be a mere 46 years later. I wonder how Reporter Laura would have covered Doctor Laura.

Schlessinger doesn’t appear to have made a lasting impression at the paper, though.

I spoke with a former Statesman Editor in Chief Rolf Fuessler, who was the last EIC to manage Schlessinger’s brief career as a newspaper reporter.

“I was on the paper from basically ‘64 to ‘68. In ‘65 I was sports editor, for a year and a half I was the editor, into the middle of ’68.” said Fuessler. “The name always rings familiar, but I don’t know anything about her.”

Another former Editor in Chief Robert Pugsley, now a law professor at Southwestern Law School, also doesn’t remember Schlessinger.

“I really have no recollection of her,” he said. “I remember some people from the paper, but not her.”

Yet there’s her name, atop articles about unionizing efforts and campus dorms. And while she may not have left any impressions on her editors while at Stony Brook, she’s made some now.

“She seems to be a creep, but that’s just my reaction to looking at her,” said Fuessler.