Columnist responds to criticisms

By: Chris Zimmer – Columnist, Junior

It’s been an interesting week. I celebrated my parents’ wedding anniversary and St. Patrick’s Day, I’m cheered on the Flyers men and women’s basketball teams in their postseason runs and I’ve also had to deal with the most publicly humiliating scenario of my life at the university I love. If you’re ignorant of that debacle, you can just hop on Facebook, Twitter or Yik Yak. You can also find a copy of Volume 62, issue 20 or 21 of Flyer News.

It’s a result of people trying to tear down my weakly-supported argument that UD is not a racist campus, but is in fact one of the friendliest. Yes, the Niche rankings I used are a weak measure, and, sure, my final draft could have had a little bit more elaboration, but I truly believe the core of the student body is friendly.

The backlash makes sense, but I didn’t want to practice the theory promoted by Morgan Freeman that “not talking about racism” would make it go away. Maybe I should have. Maybe not. I’ll take note and remember next time. All that said, I have received a lot of praise, in person and through other sorts of messaging.  At the end of the day, I was just trying to defend our school’s reputation.

No one wants to be stereotyped as a racist or labeled as the poster boy of white privilege. It certainly is no fun for me and has destroyed my image of having any intellectual capability or journalistic credibility.

Let me set things straight. I did not write the column in issue 20 with any malicious intent. It was not a case of libel or defamation. If you believe that is the case, or want to know how the final draft came about, just contact the Flyer News editors. I write for the common good of the UD community and am going to keep writing as an Op-Ed columnist and feature writer with the short time I have remaining.

I have a certain routine and a few goals to accomplish every time I write a column for our student newspaper. Here’s what it looks like. I get a cup of coffee, make sure my PC’s battery is charged, stream Flyer Radio and settle down to write something that will accomplish the following things:

  1. Get our community to read the newspaper, whether in print or online.
  2. Get our community to engage in thoughtful reflection about current events.
  3. Get our community to interact on the subject.
  4. Get other members of the community to write their own opinions on current events and provide me with their own feedback of my article.

And I don’t forget to:

  1. Pray it goes well.

It’s a good life lesson on one hand, and it’s taught me to reflect more on the final draft before submitting it. I should have given my last column a little bit more thought.

I would have never written that last article if I knew it would hurt others, or myself. I was just expressing my thoughts and trying to persuade others to agree that UD is not a racist campus, which I still believe.

I look forward to the rest of my time here at UD and contributing to the intellectual well-being of our community. Thank you to those who praised and criticized my writing. Both are needed to grow as a writer.

I look forward to continuing my work with Flyer News and as the news director at Flyer Radio, and I am honored to be a part of the UD community.


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