Was your school newspaper a haven of racism?
How about ableism?
If not, you may not have gone to Emerson College.
Or, perhaps, the expensive Boston school has taken a recent turn toward the terrible.
According to activists, the paper’s promoting poison. Subsequently, it should be defunded.
A protest group’s created “An Act of Acknowledgement for The Berkeley Beacon,” wherein they demand the outlet make a public mea culpa plus more.
Per the document, it must say it’s sorry to “every marginalized reporter who The Beacon has hurt.”
The piece — titled “My Father Decided to Cut Ties with Me for Standing in Solidarity’ with #BLM” — saw more than 15 newspaper employees resign.
Protesting Oppression With Educational Reform — AKA “POWER” — claimed the story “undermined the BLM movement.”
And in its wake, on December 8th, the Student Government Association passed a unanimous (though unenforceable) decree in condemnation of the paper over racism and ableism.
From The Beacon:
The new legislation follows a semester of public upheaval at The Beacon with Black Lives matter protests while neglecting to include a perspective from Black students or any students of color. They also aired grievances over the paper’s power structure, past articles that were found to include racist or ableist sentiments, and instances of discrimination involving current and past editors.
They also managed to throw in some toxic masculinity:
“The Beacon upholds this toxic news boys club environment, and if you aren’t one of the boys, you aren’t anyone to care about” one former Beacon staffer said in a testimonial. “They don’t care about amplifying marginalized voices or creating an inclusive and safe environment.”
So what’s the legislation about? Well, it modifies a proposal introduced by activists including several nonwhite former paper employees reallocating close to $40,000 to other campus publications annually. They also want an oversight crew comprised of students from — as relayed by The Beacon — “advocacy groups” to monitor the paper’s hiring practices and policies.
A petition’s now racked up 300 signatures to “hold The Beacon accountable.”
From the Fix, here’s more on the Act’s demands:
- [A] new publication should be created from the ashes of The Beacon—the “new” Beacon should be approved by SGA and a working group composed of marginalized students from POWER…and other intercultural organizations.
- Th[e] new publication will have mandatory anti-racist, anti-ableist, anti-sexist, anti-objectivity, and all anti-forms of oppression resources such as self-help books, Tuesda Roberts’ guidance, and mandatory attendance for open cultural events.
- In this new publication, any editor—be either the EIC, managing, staff, or assistant—any reporter that is racist, ableist, or reinforces any type of oppression—in an article or through a verbal/online conversation— is put on probation. If the reporter does not make an effort to reeducate themselves during their probationary period, they are removed from The Beacon and can only rejoin in a year’s time.
One student critical of the paper had this to say:
“I believe that POC’s voices should be the ones highlighted on stories involving issues with race and social justice rather than diminishing them. You can not be anti-racist and continue to support an organization who has taken no accountability for their trauma they have inflicted on so many people at Emerson.”
The SGA can’t actually make any of the insisted alterations occur, but their hope is to pressure the Powers That Be.
Courtesy of SGA Executive Vice President Jehan Ayesha-Wirasto:
“[The legislation] is not saying that we, SGA, are taking away The Beacon’s funding. We are simply trying to raise the standards with which we are holding all student organizations, including ourselves, when it comes to racism, ableism, sexism and other forms of oppression. And we’re trying to do so in a more tangible manner across the board.”
Raising standards is always a good thing.
Let’s hope the school does just that.
In the meantime, if you’re a girl, disabled, or not white — assuming activists have it right — steer clear of Emerson College’s foul and frightful fishwrapper.
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