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As challenge to Trump, NDSU student editors publish their own tax returns

FARGO - In their most recent edition, editors at North Dakota State University's student newspaper laid out a challenge to President Donald Trump.The front page of the April 13 edition of The Spectrum features copies of the tax returns of six stu...

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The editors of North Dakota State University Spectrum put their tax returns on the front page of the April 13, 2017, edition newspaper. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

FARGO - In their most recent edition, editors at North Dakota State University's student newspaper laid out a challenge to President Donald Trump.

The front page of the April 13 edition of The Spectrum features copies of the tax returns of six student staff members, along with an editorial urging the 45th president to be just as transparent and keep a campaign promise to release his own returns.

The back page of the paper is dominated by a photo of Trump, with the president's Twitter handle, @realDonaldTrump, in a banner that covers his eyes.

"We decided we've got nothing to hide. We're college students. Not just tell, but to show.
Don't tell us your tax returns have nothing wrong, just show us," Editor in chief Ben Norman said Wednesday, April 19.

"We might have an unprecedented president, but that doesn't mean he should get away with everything. We can't let this unfulfilled promise about releasing his taxes disappear under a pile of new atrocities," the editorial said. "Even the Devil keeps his promises."

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Running editorials on The Spectrum's front page isn't unusual, but this is the first time Norman, a senior, can remember the full front page being devoted to a staff editorial.

Still, the aim of the opinion piece isn't a partisan dig, Norman said.

"We think his (Trump's) promises shouldn't be a partisan issue," Norman said.
At NDSU's Memorial Union, reaction from students was mixed.

"I think it's a pretty bold move," senior Amanda Palos said. "I think they're trying to show it's fairly easy to do, especially if you're leading our country."

"I think it's neat, creative," sophomore Mitchell Cramer said. "Nobody is free from criticism."

Joseph Miller, a senior, said he isn't bothered that Trump's hasn't released his tax returns.

"It's more of a freedom. It's his choice," Cramer said. "It's his business, I think."

Norman said the effort has been received well online, with local comment otherwise low-key.
But that could change as the story gets more publicity.

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"I'm sure we're going to hear from more people. ... But that's OK," he said. "There will always be critics."

Spectrum staff also used Twitter to tweet a photo of the front and back pages to @realDonaldTrump.

"Our leader enjoys Twitter. We thought that was the medium we could reach the president," Norman said.

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President Donald Trump in Washington, U.S., April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

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