Marshall Student Writes Controversial Column on 1970 Tragedy

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- A young columnist is getting a lesson on the power of words after writing that it's time for Marshall University to move on from the annual remembrance of the 1970 plane crash.

Marshall print student Henry Culvyhouse wrote a controversial column in Thursday's edition of the Parthenon, Marshall’s school paper.

He wrote Marshall should move forward and stop dwelling on the tragedy, and after 42 years the memorial ceremony had become "devoid of meaning."

“At this point, it’s just a motion we go through every year,” he wrote.

He also compared the tradition with WVU's tradition of burning couches.

The column sparked hundreds of angry comments online.

Culvyhouse was invited on the Supertalk radio show with Paul Swann and Woody Woodrum. His appearance was heated, with the hosts telling their guest his piece was written in poor judgment.

"My 76-year-old mother wants to come down and teach you a lesson," Woodrum said.

"It was very sophomoric," Culvyhouse said.

Many were angry the column was published.

Sandy York is the faculty advisor for the paper. She says ultimately, the choice to run the article belonged to the students.

"If they'd asked, I'd have probably said wait a little bit, but it's their choice. It's their student run newspaper," she said.

Bishop Nash is a staff writer for the Parthenon. His uncle Barry Nash was a Herd football player and among the 75 killed on the plane crash.

"His (Culvyhouse’s) actions have really stressed a lot of us out today," Nash said.

While disagreeing with the column, Nash defends his classmate's right to voice his opinion.

"We are backing up his right to say that,” Nash said. “I think that's important."

Culvyhouse admitted his choice of words was poor, even sophomoric, but stands by his message.

"If I want to have a controversial opinion, I need to have more precise language," Culvyhouse said.

Culvyhouse says he's even gotten a few threats. He says he will be leaving town early for Thanksgiving break.

You can read the column in its entirety here:

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