The pursuit of truth continues


For TheCrusader Publication, the year 1935 is an era long gone, much of its history now bound to a few fading photographs and early published copies that are now unfortunately unavailable—bombed by American planes during World War II, taking with them the publication’s first printings and the rest of the school grounds. However, such a year remains relevant to this day, 85 long years of closures and bans prompted by multiple external forces, wars, dictatorships, tropical storms, and now a nation-crippling pandemic—the eyes of the mounted knight that safeguards our seal has seen it all. Yet he and his steed stand steady, and not without pride.

The Publication, from its beginnings to this point, has yet to yield to the pressures of the years. When the second World War broke out, the publication closed with the school. Yet by the 1950s, TheCrusader resumed publication along with the University in a rehabilitation program. Not only that, but the paper also made its way to the hands of the community by the 1960s, under the publication name of the “Crusader Newspaper”, serving as the leading college newspaper in Northern Mindanao. From the dusts of a devastating disaster, the paper was fresh from the press in a moment’s time.

Not soon after, TheCrusader took a blow from the national administration itself, when Former President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law in 1972—with it the abolition of student organizations in campuses throughout the country. To add salt to the wound, when production finally resumed the year after (albeit heavily monitored), the Publication was once again ordered closed by an unnamed Jesuit priest, for reasons now lost to history. It was not until 1985 did TheCrusader manage to release its first issue since its ban. Following the Marcos regime, they were restricted from talking about anything related to the Marcos dictatorship. Hence, TheCrusader made their way under the radar, forming the Underground Crusader. On top they spat out safe content, underneath they delved into topics others feared to vocalize.

Fast forward into the future—cue torrential rain storms battering through the city, metal roofs torn from their houses, the cries of people left stranded amidst the flood waters—TheCrusader was in the thick of it. In the aftermath of 2011’s Typhoon Sendong, TheCrusader undertook what might have been one of the Publication’s most outstanding coverages. The organization’s staff was stationed throughout the city, noting relief efforts, reporting on body counts, and keeping the populace in the know with live updates. Even in the winds of potential danger, the Publication is unlikely to be swayed.

Today, TheCrusader turned upside down with the rest of the world as the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic took hold—though the virus did little to slow the Publication down. With the purpose of upkeeping the organization’s standard of providing credible information to the community, the Publication kickstarted a series of infographics posted on various social media platforms, detailing the statistics on COVID-19 cases both on the national and local level. Additionally, relevant government mandates relating to COVID-19 rules and regulations were closely monitored and reported by the Publication. Being a historically significant event, TheCrusader published a COVID-19 Special Issue, with articles dissecting the virus, setting myths straight, previewing the new normal, and reporting on University and National affairs amidst the pandemic.

As of press time, the complications of COVID-19 have yet to cease the continued effort of TheCrusader Publication.

With proving that TheCrusader shall always be able to rise from the tests of adversities, having comebacks after several circumstances of closure over the past years as witness to its strength, along with it is the dedication to uphold that of which serves as the organization’s purpose: The pursuit of truth.

Much of its resources have been expended to unravel this truth, making the most out of every opportunity to make a story be known, capture a scene as it transpires, and record an event that may define history. In this effort, the publication is able to present content that holds no prejudice.

The trend to sensationalize events in order to garner public attention never had to be adopted by the publication. Instead, the capability to dramatize and stir controversies have been placed in a strategy that doesn’t undermine ethics: through lampoons. Since 1992 when its first lampoon had been published, TheCrusader spares no person, institution, or organization worthy of criticism. Continuing with this form of journalism, in 2010 a satirical article became a staple segment in every issue with an icon that is Cora Contrabida as its face.

Unafraid of composing bold statements, the publication stood with media outlets that have been subjected to censorship. In January 2018 TheCrusader stood with Rappler during their revocation of registration and remained firm with the sentiment: To silence the press is to silence the people. They also released a statement regarding the ABS-CBN shutdown in the defense of press freedom in May 2020. As a student publication, editorials have also served as avenues to appeal to student concerns. An example of an earlier one includes the campaign against the uniform policy and tuition fee increase in 1995, and a more recent one touches on the interference of classes during Intramurals in 2016. Additionally, editorials concerning societal issues have also been disclosed: in May 2018 TheCrusader participated in a joint editorial with Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) student publication The Guidon and Editorial Boards of the Ateneo community in condemning the decision of the Supreme Court to remove Chief Justice Sereno from the office.

The duration of which the Publication has remained in service is testament to how its mission and vision resonate with the passionate students who have managed the organization year after year, as well as its readers who have subscribed to every headline it has published. Every milestone it has reached has shaped the publication into what it is now today.

In every quinquennial celebration, the organization brings forward a refined commitment to embody the essence of campus journalism. Adapting to a sophisticated visual, the official logo has been redesigned in honor of its 75th anniversary in 2010. “Speak Throughout the Ages” has been the theme for its 80th anniversary, commemorating in the form of a photo exhibit its history since its beginnings in 1935. Today, as the year marks another era of possibilities, TheCrusader presents itself as a catalyst with the same pursuit and more.

We have seen it in the expansion of its scope from a school paper to a community paper in the 1960’s amidst the predicament it was bound to face with the declaration of Martial Law, and return after numerous closures. We see it not only in the materials it publishes every year: AY Starter Magazine, Sports Magazine, Super Magazine, Veritas Literary and Arts Folio, Pre-Election Broadsheet, and AY Ender Magazine—not even in the days-long major coverages: Higalaay Festival Coverage, The Xavier Cup Coverage, and XU Festival Days Coverage—but in the annual events as well with Meet the Press and SIBYA, the latter having been founded in 2012 as the first Northern Mindanao Student Communicators Congress. More so, the organization continues to expand its reach with the establishment of The Crusader TV (CruTV) in 2011. With the advent of COVID-19 and the necessary adjustment of the AY set-up, TheCrusader goes online with a relaunch of their official website.

The knight and his steed, and his 85 year watch is far from nearing its end. And in the wake of his footsteps, as the dusts of his decades-long journey billow and rest upon his feet, we get a glimpse of the long road ahead, a path as treacherous and unpredictable as when he first began his journey in the year 1935. Nevertheless, the pursuit of truth continues—unyielding, unprejudiced, unbound.C

Abdel Rafi Lim

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