In this editorial, The Review will be addressing its past as an institution that has not consistently reflected its core values, including our self-proclaimed service to stand as a voice for all university students.
We are aware that we cannot continue to deem ourselves worthy of being a voice for our students when our coverage has not always given a sufficient platform to students of color (Black, Latinx, Native American, Asian), LGBTQ+ populations and students with disabilities, etc.
We would like to address our readers, not to convince them that we are trying to change, but to state exactly how we will be evolving and showing our commitment in the near and distant future.
The Review’s staff acknowledges and apologizes for the above on the basis that in the past, the paper has not been able to properly address matters in regards to diversity, equity and inclusion. At a university that is nearly 80% white, the paper needs to work harder to ensure minoritized voices are represented on our pages.
The Review itself was established in 1882, merely 17 years after the formal end of slavery. The newspaper was built during a year that racism still ran rampant in our country — but if one were to go through our archives during that year, much of the content was regarding minor university affairs, personal opinion and “local matters.” Our current staff knows that this inaction can no longer be left unaddressed.
Additionally, it would be a mistake to not acknowledge the paper’s past transgressions. We apologize that this is the first time we, as a collective, have addressed these points. We believe that this is the only way for us to move forward in order to fulfill our personal goals and live up to our ethical code.
The paper’s founding year is proudly emblazoned on some of our merchandise that members can wear, as well as by the staircase to reach our office. This year is also naturally indicative of the time, which is marked by several key historical facts: in the late 1800s, Delaware College (a former moniker of the university), had never admitted a Black student, but had admitted both Asian and Native American students previously. Although higher education for Black students was established in 1891, they were only allowed to attend Delaware State University. The University of Delaware itself remained almost entirely segregated until 1950 when the Parker v. University of Delaware case forcibly integrated the university. The Review’s history is therefore a part of this past.
As established, the paper has failed to respond appropriately to previous reports of internal workplace issues. Although any action regarding the topics in this article should have been addressed earlier, our current leadership has decided on several steps to direct our efforts towards becoming better. The paper has benchmarked its own resolutions against other college media organizations, such as “The Harvard Crimson,” the “Columbia Daily Spectator” and “The Daily Pennsylvanian” who have come to many of the same realizations as we’ve had, in order to lead with the best practices. To create a more diverse, inclusive and equal work environment, The Review is taking the following steps to ensure commitment to our core values.
Firstly, we are creating a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Advisory Board that will “work alongside members of The Review to recruit new members, serve as ties to various communities on campus, encourage broad coverage and provide a safe space for members to voice their ideas.” The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Board will consist of five members — some Review members, some not — who will collaborate with our leadership to achieve the Board’s mission.
Keeping in mind that the scope of our coverage has largely left out minoritized communities on campus, in the upcoming years, the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Board aims to search for multiple columnists of diverse backgrounds to share their life experiences, insights and whatever else they may want to mediate on.
Further, to ensure that our staff knows how to handle situations concerning discrimination, as well as how to report on minoritized communities in ways that are not disrespectful and/or pandering, we aim to have all our new and current DEI Board members undergo training from Student Diversity and Inclusion.
Although our staff has always been bound by the same journalistic and ethical values, we have previously lacked a public mission statement. Our staff typically changes on a semesterly basis, apart from the editor-in-chief and executive editor, which are year-long positions. Implementing an official mission statement will allow our fluid staff to identify and be bound by the values we wish to embody. It will also allow us to hold ourselves accountable during any future conflict.
The Review serves the Delaware and university community. We would like to be a publication that amplifies the voices of underrepresented communities, our students, our greater-Newark-readers and one that promotes transparency. We simply cannot say that we are your voice if we are not a voice for everyone. It is not only a necessity, it is our responsibility.
The above are changes and initiatives that The Review promises to make. We will uphold that promise. We plan, from this point forward, to only facilitate good change and to be open and respectful of any and all criticism that comes our way. This article is not meant to be taken as an exhaustive list; however, it is a step towards a better future.
The Review’s weekly editorials are written to reflect the majority opinion of The Reviews staff. This week’s editorial was a collaborative piece by members of The Review. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org