The Cauldron celebrates its 90th anniversary

By Kourtney Husnick

Establishing itself 36 years before classes began at Cleveland State University, The Cauldron’s first issue went to print Monday, Oct. 7, 1929 as the Co-operative Engineering College paper at the Cleveland YMCA School of Technology (Y-Tech). With a staff of 23 students, one faculty advisor and $46 in printing expenses, The Cauldron was born. 

In the words of The Cauldron’s first staff members, the publication was made to be “a boiler or melting pot containing the who, what, why, when, where and how of occurrences, written in a snappy tone and with a style which will be appropriate for dealing with collegiate news events.” That goal has stayed with staff members through countless other changes and transitions in the paper’s operations. 

The first years of publication occurred in the standard, broadsheet newspaper style once per month. Over time, printing schedules changed back and forth in a range from the original monthly release to an almost daily distribution. 

Finishing volume one of The Cauldron in 1930, the first staff members shared high hopes for the future of the publication they began. 

“The boys on the staff have left a permanent mark of their spirit at Fenn,” the 18 students who remained through the first year wrote in the June 1930 issue. 

The publication has continued on through several establishment changes, surviving as Y-Tech transitioned to Fenn College and as Fenn College melded into Cleveland State University. 

As we hit the anniversary of The Cauldron’s beginnings once again, we decided as a staff to honor those before us and offer an understanding of where we are now to the Cleveland State community.

Consistent focuses, consistent coverage

Even as the university has changed, the issues covered in The Cauldron hold some consistency. From athletics to parking, Cleveland State – and Fenn College before it – has had many of the same discussions and goals for decades. 

In 1929, The Cauldron noted Y-Tech’s growth, claiming that athletics were a contributing factor and that the school was “adapting the method of other colleges which have built themselves up by athletic programs.” At the time, athletics programs helped other colleges build new classrooms, according to the article. 

Today, improving the attitude around athletics at Cleveland State is one of the strategic priorities that the university is focused on moving forward. However, profits from athletics won’t be funding new classrooms in 2019. While some sports do have ticket sales, Cleveland State does not make a direct profit off athletics. 

The 18 NCAA sports that the university offers are funded through the General Fee and Athletic Fee, which the student body pays each semester. 

Fast-forwarding to the official beginning of Cleveland State, the prioritization of an affordable education was at the forefront of the new university’s creation. Tuition was under $500 for 3,000 full-time students, according to an article in The Cauldron’s Sept. 27, 1965 issue. Tuition ranges from $4914.60 to $5,372.40 for current full-time, undergraduate students depending on their start date, which is one of the lowest rates in Ohio.

Stuck on the same subjects

However, some issues haven’t seen much change. While 2009 brought along construction of the Student Center as we know it today, the building that is now known as Julka Hall and the opening of South Garage, Cleveland State students have faced many of the same problems for at least the last decade with little or no solutions. 

When South Garage was under construction, Parking Services called it a “solution to the parking shortage,” but the garage was originally opened as guest and visitor parking, according to a fall 2009 issue of The Cauldron. Students with a pre-paid parking pass couldn’t utilize the lot until October of that year, and parking is still a consistent complaint of most commuter students today. 

Student representation also still held controversy. The Student Government Association (SGA) elections reportedly had campaign violations, and arguments about the treasurer’s appointment went well into September. 

Even popular culture discussed on campus held a familiar tone as Zombieland released in October 2009. Although, when the sequel releases later this month, The Cauldron’s shift in content focus means there will not be a film review in the next issue this time around. 

The Cauldron in the present

Ninety years after the newspaper “poured forth from the printing press for the first time,” The Cauldron prints biweekly during the fall and spring semesters — with the exception of one online-only issue for the first time this year due to changes in the organization’s operating budget. 

The $46 printing expense from the first issue in 1929 has increased to $1,380 for the first issue of this semester. The $1 that The Cauldron requested from each individual student in 1929 has increased to approximately $3.08 per student this year, based on the enrollment number listed on Cleveland State’s website. 

Advertising sales decreased from an expected $40,000 in 2012, to a university expectation of nothing this year, resulting in the loss of the Ad Manager position on The Cauldron’s staff. The full business staff that once existed for the publication has dwindled to nothing, limiting the ability for the newspaper to make up for unexpected, and uncontrollable, budget cuts. However, the staff has partnered with a sales class to take on contributing sales representatives and attempt to curb any potential loss of funds. 

As with any university publication, funding and access to information consistently becomes a difficult conversation. The Cauldron’s history of changing publication schedules and physical condition is likely to continue changing. Still a melting pot with a snappy tone providing the who, what, why, when, where and how of occurrences, The Cauldron celebrates its 90th anniversary with the release of this issue. 

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