Full Staff Opinion

As you know, something very cool– and moreover, very crucial– is happening on our campus right now. We’re starting to come together to talk about race and discrimination on this campus. What’s more, different groups are now making a point of showing up to the conversation, too. These forums may now begin to be, as last Tuesday’s event showed us, a bit less like an echo chamber. We’re getting some new voices in the room. This is all well and good: talks about how to make our campus more inclusive should, of course, be inclusive in themselves. These discussions, and this progress, must involve us all. 

One comment made at Tuesday’s forum particularly struck we of the Reporter staff. One student pointed out that all campus organizations need to turn a critical eye toward their membership. Who does or does not join a group cannot be shrugged off, the student reminded the crowd. You cannot content yourself to think well, everyone knows we’re an open organization, or I guess this is just who wanted to join us this year. No, the student continued: if your organization is only attracting one type of person, you need to look closely at what you’re doing. You need to turn a critical eye toward the signals, implicit or otherwise, that you’re sending.

So, here is The College Reporter’s critical eye. This newspaper has had an increasingly tricky time recruiting staff members. But even with our staffing drought, we are not a diverse crew. For as long as any of us have been in this organization, it has been as white as the paper it was formerly printed on. (And with that same sickly, grayish tinge because we don’t go outside.) And that is a clear gap in student representation. But really, that’s not the worst of it.

No, it isn’t fitting for any organization here to not reflect our student body. The fact that we are a largely normative staff is one issue on its own. But we are our college’s newspaper. To be F&M’s independent student newspaper, to exist solely to reflect our campus, and still look the way we do, is doubly wrong. It’s shameful. This publication exists to be your voice and hear your voice. We want to be, we should be, a forum for you. And we are clearly failing in doing so.

As our campus walks slowly but surely toward a more equitable tomorrow, we’re searching for how to make things better. And for our part, so is the Reporter. We aren’t quite sure yet how to make our content and our staff more balanced, but we do hope to have your voice in this paper. This space, this invaluable, important forum, is meant for everyone. Email us at reporter@fandm.edu to get involved with this publication of ours. We want to hear from everyone. The campus needs to hear from everyone. Our newspaper, like our forums, our student life, our campus’ progress, must include us all.