Hilltop Views responds to student concerns

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Editors’ Note: This editorial will run in the April 20 print edition of Hilltop Views.

A robust discussion is under way about an opinion piece by a guest contributor published in the April 13 print edition of Hilltop Views and online. The piece likens the politics of Bernie Sanders to the politics of Adolf Hitler.

First things first, we want our readers to know that we hear you. We have seen your comments, tweets and letters. We are taking all of what you said into account. We apologize to anyone who was offended by this opinion piece.

After discussing the possibility of taking the column down, we have decided that the best course of action is to leave it up. It has sparked discussion online and, we understand, in the classroom. In short, it’s too late to pretend controversy has not erupted. However, we have changed the headline and removed the photo. In hindsight, we see that both only reinforced a comparison that should never have been made. For that, we apologize.

Our job here at Hilltop Views is to report the news and, in our Viewpoints section, to provide a platform for students to express their opinions. The conservative view is one we rarely see, and when we finally received such a submission we were excited. The excitement for the article overshadowed our editorial judgment. We failed to challenge the writer’s assumptions, to help him craft an effective argument laying out his opposition to Sanders. In doing so, we failed him and the student body.

We initially did not realize the negative impact publishing this opinion piece would have. We thought it would generate a discussion about conservatism at St. Edward’s. Instead, the comparison of Sanders, who is Jewish, with Hitler was offensive and hurtful. For this, we offer our deepest apologies.

As we move forward we will continue to think through what happened here as we encourage classmates of all backgrounds and political philosophies to contribute. Hilltop Views is student produced and edited. All publication decisions rest solely with the student editors. We understand that this is a privilege and we know we can only improve with your help.

We encourage you to come and write for us. Come to our budget meetings and contribute your ideas. We want the newspaper to represent a diversity of viewpoints, voices and opinions. It makes for better journalism and for a stronger campus community if we can listen to one another even when we disagree. If you can’t join our staff, write a letter to the editor when you can. Just be sure to sign your name to it and we will run it.

As student journalists we are constantly learning, evolving and trying to get better. We want you to know that we will not repeat the error of name-calling and insult that is already too prevalent in this presidential race. We may be undergraduates just beginning in journalism, but we will hold ourselves, and this newspaper, to a higher standard. Thanks for helping us by pointing out when we have stumbled. — the editors