Texas Tech

The Catalyst was a controversial, underground local newspaper published by Texas Tech University students and members of the local community during a time of political, social and academic upheaval. It was comprised of articles, reviews, editorials, satires, parodies and political statements. The Vietnam War, politics, racial discord, and drug use were the most common themes discussed, as were inclusive civil rights for the U.S. population as a whole and reproduction rights for women.

Numerous attempts were made by Texas Tech University administration and the City of Lubbock to shut down the paper. In 1970, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of The Catalyst by the Channing Club, a Texas Tech student youth group organized by the Unitarian Church. The ruling in favor of The Catalyst is one of the most notable court cases in the area of freedom of the press for school newspapers. It is often cited as legal precedent in cases involving censorship of student presses.

Two additional collections at the Southwest Collection/Special Collections Library contain information on The Catalyst newspaper court case: The Channing Club Records, 1970 is a 1 wallet collection and files in box 4 folder 36 through box 5 folder 7 of the Thomas Griffith Papers, 1918-2001 and undated relate directly to the court case.

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Primary contacts: Sheon Montgomery (bio)