Satire publication remembered 50 years later

The first cover of The Skewer. Photo courtesy Kentucky Museum Archives.

Sydney Rae Davis

In the fall of 1965, four students were suspended from WKU for criticizing their school in an underground newspaper called The Skewer.

The student-run publication featured articles, poems, short dramas and cartoons that pointed out what the student writers saw as the wrongdoings of the administration.

The publishers referred to WKU as Skew U several times in the publication, suggesting the viewpoints of many students, faculty members and administration were skewed or twisted.

The students started the publication out of frustration, University Archivist Suellyn Lathrop said.

“Basically they weren’t getting to do the articles they wanted at the Herald and felt like there was more they could be doing, so they went off on their own,” Lathrop said.

The students were placed on indefinite suspension on Dec. 2, 1965. The Board of Regents met on Dec. 18, 1965, for a total of 10 hours in regards to the suspension of Frank Bonasso, Sam Lawson, Robert Johns and George Chakos.

The board met again on Jan. 8, 1966, to hear the appeals of Bonasso, Lawson and Johns. The previous suspension was sustained.

While there are only two issues of The Skewer in University Archives, Lathrop said there could have been more. Each of the issues cost students 25 cents to purchase.

When pointing out wrongdoings by members of WKU administration, the writers used biting nicknames for them such as “Dean Horrible” and “Dean Cowardly.” With these names, they would provide copious clues so it was abundantly clear who they were talking about.

Although The Skewer had particularly dramatic repercussions, it was not the last underground publication on the Hill.

The Big Red Tool is a current satiric publication thought to be run by a WKU faculty member. The publication can be found online at and is said to appear in print in buildings all over campus.

University Archives assistant April McCauley said she thinks there is room for more than one publication at WKU.

“How can you have everything in one publication?” she asked.