This was originally placed in the latest print edition of Flyer News. Issue 13 is available here, and on stands around campus.
Dear Flyer News Readers,
Many of you probably have never met me, but I have been behind the scenes in the creation of every issue of Flyer News for the 2017-18 school year. As the print editor, I have been working to edit, advise, and aid students in utilizing their voices, and to create a safe space where they can air their concerns, thoughts, and perspectives on a variety of topics.
Last issue, we published a controversial opinions piece regarding St. Patrick’s Day that has been seen and discussed frequently since its publication. I believe it is important to note that the opinions expressed in this piece are a reflection of our opinions editor, not of the entirety of our staff. Actually, many of us, including myself, avidly disagree with the content in the piece — each for our own reasons.
However, while we disagree with this opinion, we still note that this newspaper is a space for our student body, and a place for dialogue amongst each other. Therefore, I do not believe that the publication of this opinion was a mistake, even though I do believe that we could have practiced a longer, sustained reflection and a more even-handed approach to its tone and format.
As print editor, it is my job to guide writers through the process of vocalizing their opinions in a fashion that exudes professionalism and thoughtfulness. In this instance, I feel that I could have better served this newspaper.
Meanwhile, I have found that holding this position as Flyer News’s print editor has frequently placed me in the situation where I must print a piece although I do not agree with its content. My job is not to censor ideas, but to be a person who guides and aids students in the amplification of their own voices. With that being said, I have my opinions, too. While I do not usually write such a letter, I found it necessary in this instance to speak up about what I think.
As a student who lives on this campus, I struggle with St. Patrick’s Day. I struggle particularly because I see the considerable level of privilege that oozes from the behavior, destruction, and consequences that result from this day’s activities. If these behaviors had occurred in another context by other individuals, there could have been many more arrests and potentially even deaths.
We have the privileges associated with the context of attending a university and living on this campus. We often benefit from the status of class—as well as race and gender. Considering the privilege of our student population, I honestly think that pushing the boundaries of authority should not be that of singular administrators, but instead should be centered on toxic structures and acts of power. Those are the authorities that should be radically altered. Those are the authorities that diminish persons, and that refuse to see the dignity in human beings, creatures, and earth. Those are the authorities that we should confront. Those are the authorities we should use our raised voices to challenge and reform.
Additionally, in my experience, President Eric Spina is pushing our University to think beyond ourselves and our campus. He wants us to push boundaries and borders in our work and lives. He wants us to think critically about our positionality in our culture, city and world. He wants us to push ourselves to grow and flourish, instead of pushing limits that may ultimately be destructive.
Further, I think that he is unquestionably supportive of our work as students—noting that he has accepted multiple invitations to student events in which I have been involved, and has apologized profusely if he was unable to attend.
These are my thoughts. These are my experiences. Everyone has their own.
In the Opinions section, we have published two responses to the controversial article. Will Landers and Brett Slaugenhaupt have responded with critical eyes and words. Please be sure to read their thoughts and reflect on them—whether you agree or disagree.
In addition to these notes, I would like to point out that our staff here at Flyer News has published many stories throughout this year that pointedly delve into issues of consequence, including pieces that take a hard look at gun violence and the NRA, describe the internal turmoil experienced by a student who identifies as both Catholic and LBGTQ+, and present a side-by-side layout delving into the Women’s March and the March for Life. Our Opinions section has been a place that has allowed for these conversations to take place.
At Flyer News, we want to create a place for dialogue, constructive conversations, and provocative questions. We want to be a place where we can talk about a variety of issues, including St. Patrick’s Day, with a critical eye, a personal touch and an aura of reflection.
My desire is for Flyer News and our UD campus to engage in thoughtful, constructive dialogue that allows us to encounter each other in difficult discussions regarding heated ideas. My hope is that Flyer News will continue to work to be a place where we can grow as a community, as intellectuals and as persons.
As the semester is coming to a close, I hope you will take the time to reflect on your own opinions and the use of your voice. I encourage you to continue to read, think, discuss — and peruse Flyer News. We will continue to strive to cultivate this platform as a place for the voices of our fellow students. We encourage nuanced conversations, and we would love to hear your voice. Please write to us. We will listen.