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Marshall student’s column on plane crash draws anger

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- A student journalist's column suggesting that an annual remembrance of the 1970 Marshall plane crash has become "devoid of meaning" and that the university needs to move on has drawn hundreds of angry responses.

Student Henry Culvyhouse wrote the column in Thursday's edition of Marshall's school paper, the Parthenon. The headline of the online story reads: "Time heals all wounds."

The Nov. 14, 1970, crash killed 75 people, including 36 football players. A remembrance was held Wednesday at the university.

"I watched yesterday's ceremony solemnly, reflecting on how such a tragedy must have felt to the community," Culvyhouse wrote. "However, I wondered how long must a community be reminded of a tragedy. Forty-two years have passed since these young athletes died; why must we continue to be reminded? Or to put it more precisely, why must this display of pageantry continue?"

Two members of the Parthenon staff who lost relatives in the crash wrote a joint column published Friday backing Marshall's annual remembrance and referring to Culvyhouse's comments as inappropriate.

Also among those critical of the column was Randy Burnside, a former sports information director at Marshall.

"The crash does not define Marshall," said Burnside's online response. "Marshall's response to the crash is what defines Marshall. You have missed the entire point."

Media outlets report Culvyhouse also was criticized during an appearance Thursday on Huntington radio station WRVC-FM.

In the article, Culvyhouse said the column was directed at Marshall students, not alumni or the Huntington community. On the radio show, he said he could have chosen his words better.

"I actually used a hammer when I should've used a scalpel," he said. "I thought I was using a scalpel. It was a complete and utter failure in precision on my part."

Newspaper faculty adviser Sandy York said the decision to run the article belonged to the students.


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