The student newspaper at California State University, Fresno, came under intense criticism Monday after comparing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to Adolf Hitler.
The Collegian’s front page featured a large photo of Trump alongside the words, “Sieg Heil!” – the infamous Nazi salute. In addition to an editorial entitled, “Donald Trump is going to get us all killed,” the paper also featured a photo illustration of Trump’s head on Hitler’s body saluting outside the White House.
“Trump’s America is the Fourth Reich,” the Collegian’s editorial board wrote, calling Trump a racist and a fascist.
Troy Pope, The Collegian’s editor-in-chief, said the newspaper’s website crashed on Monday due to all the traffic the editorial attracted. He said the student-run paper stands by its decision to print the controversial headline on the front page, and was prompted by Trump’s win in the South Carolina primary this past weekend.
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“Trump is railing against Muslims, Mexicans – basically people who aren’t white, and he’s becoming popular because of that. That’s what’s dangerous,” Pope said. “That’s no different than Hitler rallying the German people against the Jews.”
Fresno State President Joseph Castro said that the editorial represents the opinion of The Collegian’s editorial board, pointing to “freedom of the press.” He was fielding complaints on Twitter Monday, urging others to write letters to the editor to express their views.
Many took to social media to discuss the controversial front page. Jerry Duncan, former Fresno city councilman, posted a comment on The Collegian’s website and said, “With garbage like this, obviously our education system has seriously failed us.”
Over the weekend, The Collegian won 13 awards at a California College Media Association ceremony, including first place for best website.
Pope is a part-time student writer at The Fresno Bee.