The Kitty column from a November 23, 1943 edition of The Col­legian | Col­legian.

Last week we covered a gossip column of Col­le­gians past titled “The Kitty.” The column ran from March 1939 until October 1945 and reported campus rumors from the view­point of a literal cat, meows and all.

However, the column caused quite the con­tro­versy on Hillsdale’s campus, and it wasn’t just because people were con­fused by The Col­legian hiring a feline to join the staff.

Dis­cus­sions regarding “The Kitty’s” removal from Hillsdale’s paper began in 1944 when readers began to object to the vicious nature of the column’s gossip. However, others defended it, unwilling to sac­rifice the campus’ boiling tea.

In a letter to the editor pub­lished on April 4, 1944, student Jewel Waltman wrote, “There have been a number of crit­i­cisms of the Kitty of late and I would like to defend it. It is, after all, the only bit of spice in the Col­legian.” She con­tinued, “Many remarks in the Kitty have been cruel and uncalled for but many stu­dents have learned a lesson or taken the advice of the Kitty and ben­e­fited by it. It is one way of com­mu­ni­cating to certain people their faults and their weak­nesses and should be taken with good humor and sports­manship.” The same could be said about bul­lying, but let’s keep sipping the tea.

She did have one crit­icism about the Kitty: “My main objection to the Kitty is the use of it as a revenge weapon between fra­ternity groups on campus.”

To quote “The Kitty” pub­lished on Jan. 23, 1945: “And to you Kappas, your com­mando pledges are bad enough without looking like the mad messes they were last week.” Yes, it does seem as though revenge between fra­ternity groups would be a good place to draw the line.

M.E. wrote a letter to the editor on Jan. 20, 1945, saying, “‘The Kitty’ has become one of the strongest tra­di­tions on this campus. It has also become one of the most childish, ridiculous, and (we hope) untrue reflec­tions of the atti­tudes and sen­ti­ments pre­dom­inant on Hillsdale’s sup­posedly ami­cable campus.”

He con­tinued, “What could be more amusing than telling someone that they are thor­oughly dis­liked by all? What could pos­sibly be more clever than a gen­er­al­ization incor­po­rating a whole orga­ni­zation into a description full of adjec­tives we ordi­narily use to describe the Nazis?” That esca­lated quickly.

N.C. wrote his opinion on the matter on March 20, 1945. He said, “The Kitty is no longer dirty but this was done at the expense of making the paper dull and unin­ter­esting to some people.”

He then took an inter­esting approach and blamed the readers for this dullness, saying, “You stu­dents have decided that you want a news­paper rather than a scandal sheet. Now you must assume the respon­si­bility of sup­porting such a paper.” N.C. explained himself, saying, “A news­paper cannot live without news. Hillsdale is a small place and very little of news value happens here. The Col­legian staff needs your whole­hearted coop­er­ation. It is your fault if the paper is not good reading.”

The con­tro­versy ended on Oct. 16, 1945 when the Col­legian announced the end of the column.

“After being denounced by stu­dents, faculty, alumni, and finally by the Asso­ciated col­le­giate Press in their annual cri­tique of the Col­legian, the Kitty realized that she had no place in society and com­mitted suicide.” The article con­tinued, “She delighted in hurting people’s feelings and breaking up friend­ships. Her only friends were those who were equally hateful in per­son­ality. They alone objected to her act of suicide.”

While some rejoiced at the news, others were dev­as­tated. On Oct. 23, 1945, Decker Francis wrote in to the Col­legian: “The dis­con­tin­uance of the Kitty is the dis­con­tin­uance of the Col­legian.”

Luckily for all of us, we were able to survive without a cat writer.