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A message from The Editorial Board

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Correction, Nov. 30 at 5:28 p.m.: The author of this column has jeopardized the atmosphere of inclusivity at this university and will no longer be published in The University Star. 


Dear readers,

We screwed up.

As editors, we allowed a hateful column to be published and hurt our community that deserves better. Texas State is a place where every student should feel safe learning and growing.

This is a student-run independent newspaper that enjoys the full rights and responsibilities of the First Amendment. Our newsroom is a learning space that gives us the ability to grow into our profession. It is a place where we make decisions and live by their consequences. The author of the column has jeopardized the atmosphere of inclusivity at this university. We have taken action and fired the individual.

Since the column’s publication, we have received hate mail and numerous death threats. Additionally, there have been calls for several members of The University Star to resign with individuals threatening to defund the student publication if demands are not met. We have received a lot of constructive feedback that, as students, is invaluable to us.

Texas State is a university that is dedicated to providing opportunities for growth to its students. Student media, such as The Star, provides indispensable experience to take with us beyond our undergraduate careers and into the real world.

We fully acknowledge the repercussions of our actions in allowing for such an incendiary and divisive column to make it into print. We were unequivocally wrong in printing it. It was neither constructive nor appropriate. We failed our readership and damaged Texas State’s profound tradition of inclusivity. Although it will take time and hard work to restore, that tradition is something that we will work tirelessly to uphold and rebuild.

One of our former editors and President of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson put it best: “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”

Moving forward, we fully intend to win the battle against divisiveness, one that we unfortunately helped fuel. We intend to foster community and a more positive atmosphere on campus through the same platform from which we have been doing so since 1911.

The University Star is here to stay, but not without making necessary changes to ensure that our core values will not be overlooked again. In the following days, we will be developing comprehensive plans to guarantee that the upcoming semesters are guided by truth, transparency and diversity of thought.

In these plans we will create more rigorous guidelines that all content must meet in order to be published, and we will create points and methods of oversight to make sure that all content is more critically edited. We, as student journalists, strive to become better in our profession and believe taking these measures is the right thing to do.

We invite the community that we respect so dearly to join us in this process, and will be making plans accessible to the public for feedback and conversation. In our next issue– which can include in print or online– we will publish letters to the editor in regards to the column.

Thank you,

The University Star Editorial Board

15 COMMENTS

  1. As parents of a freshman, who’s DNA was questioned, the emotions we felt were very deep after reading the article. We questioned if we had made the right decision sending our student to Texas State. Can she feel comfortable on campus? We want our daughter to be exposed to different people and ideas but not attacked for who she is or what she believes. Colleges across the nation are losing sight of constructive conversations. By allowing this article to be published, which was a conscious decision on the editorial staff’s part, you became part of the problem in shutting down constructive conversations and complicit in promoting hate speech. I was a journalism major. We were taught we are there to report all sides of a story with an unbiased approach so that the reader could decide what they agreed on. Although this was an op ed, the newspaper still has an ethical responsibility. You’re first response fell very short. This response is a first step to repairing the trust, but far from the last step that must be taken. Our family sacrifices greatly for the benefit of our daughter and Texas State. We will only continue this investment in Texas State as long as we know our daughter is safe.

  2. I’ll give you credit for this much. This is an actual apology as opposed to the prior meaningless releases by the Star Editor and University President, which amounted to “sorry if you got offended.”

    The next step is accountability. Firing a columnist and then leaving unscathed his editors who have oversight on his work seems a bit like scapegoating. At least 2 editors let this happen. At a minimum, they’ve demonstrated the need for others to take over those positions.

    The only argument or discussion should be around whether those 2 have earned the privilege to continue on with the Star in a lesser capacity or be removed altogether.

    I don’t know what to say about the response of the University President, but the Student Body President has shown tremendous leadership. I believe Dr. Trauth could learn something from Mr. Clegg on this topic.

  3. Black and brown people love to project onto whites. We make the technology, we are behind the science, literature, legal, technological advancements in history. We make the nice civilizations that the nonwhites want to live in.

    They need whites; we do NOT need them. We whites are tolerant and peaceful and want to do things in a civilized and orderly fashion. However, the more you push white people, the more angrier and violent we get when pushed too far. Look at our history.

  4. As a graduate of this fine university, I am absoloutely appalled. How on earth could you let something like this be published? I really can’t even put into words how disappointed I am that this University could put out something so hateful.

    I stand with Connor Clegg, I will NEVER donate a single dollar to this university until Opinions Editor May Olvera and Editor-in-Chief Denise Cervantes join Rudy Martinez as former employees of the Star.

    I urge others to join me. No Athletic donations, no research donations, no academic donations, NOTHING, until these racists are removed from the possibility of influencing growing minds. These close minded individuals have no place in student media and their enrollment at the University needs to be evaluated.

    Vote with you wallet, NO MORE DONATIONS of any kind until these fools are gone.

  5. Everyone in charge of this publication shouuld be ashamed and is to blam for the toxic culture that had led to it’s publication and the hiring of that toxic person.

    Beofore he was even joined the publication several disturbing articles were published creating a trend of advocating for racisim and discrimination.

    Evidence of it lingers on the front page to the site; articles written by a member of your team excusing racism from black peoples. There by eccentially giving them a free pass. That should be abhored! It is disturbing that you would allow such articles unchallenged.

    After the addition of Rudy Martinez he gleefully praised the work of communisim. The US is full of immigrants who have fled the horrors of Communisim, actions of which make the nazis seems like nothing more than school yard bullies compared with. (Even those terrible in history know how bad the Nazis were, so comaparred with communists you can get an idea)

    Then you have allowed for him to continue on and essentially advocate for genocide of a whole group of peoples. Furthermore this website allowed its publication, did no one step back and think that maybe we should not publish articles advocating for genocide?
    Or further more to report him to the police?

    You are all to blame, and should be righfully repremanded!
    Rudy Martinez should be bared from school for the advocation of hate speech, genocide, and crimes against humanity.

    Freedom of the press is important, but when the press is advocating hate speach and discrimination it is no longer “news” but instead violence.

    Shame on you!
    Ban Rudy Martinez and remove several other members of this team!
    And strive to create better factual and inclusive news.

  6. If that same article had been written about black people instead of white people then the entire editorial board would have been removed immediately. If you want to show the sincerity of your apology, if it even exists, then react the same way you would if the article had been written about another race. You would all be stepping down in shame and disgrace!

  7. Three people with Spanish surnames decide its a good idea to use the word ‘ABOMINATION’ when describing ‘White DNA’ (not actually a technical term or actual thing), May Olvera, Denise Cervantes, Rudy Martinez.

    Given the current status quo in which ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusiveness’ is an imperative, how does this reflect on ACTUAL not STATED culture of ‘diversity and inclusiveness’ at this university? Try and imagine, you can see the three of them getting so excited to be throwing rocks from their glass house, hiding behind the ‘starting a discussion’ meme.

    I’d like to start a discussion borrowing from their terminology. if ‘Brown DNA’ is at least ‘not as bad’ as ‘White DNA’, why don’t millions upon millions of people from all over the world risk everything they have to get to ANYWHERE SOUTH OF THE RIO GRAND? Why do countries not founded or run by a majority that is both ‘White DNA’ and MALE (like mexico or argentina or columbia or brazil) not have a higher standard of living or even an equal appreciation for the value of a human LIFE? My last supposition is supported by the way humans treat other humans in these countries, particularly those ‘Brown DNA’ people in charge with all the power and money? Mexico is very well known for its humanitarian and philanthropic heritage. Okay May Olvera, Denise Cervantes, Rudy Martinez -begin discussion.

  8. I am a white African raised & educated in a multi-racial school & fluent in local language & culture. And trust me there was plenty of bitter inter-tribal racism.
    I joined the debating team where every emotional and complex issue was debated – your paper would be greatly improved by requiring both sides of every opinion to be published.
    Something that few if any current journalism professors appear to teach – what’s to be afraid of? That’s where racism and Nazi book burning came from – “fear”.
    Ask yourself – how diverse are your media consumption habits, do you expose yourself to ALL views including international media? If not, why not – is it fear of having an open mind?
    Why do you think media is so distrusted by anyone today?
    http://www.journalism.org/2017/05/10/americans-attitudes-about-the-news-media-deeply-divided-along-partisan-lines/pj_2017-05-10_media-attitudes_a-04/
    In fact, as debaters we were told the issue to be debated but did not find out which side we’d be taking until a few minutes prior to the debate, thus forcing us to study the issue from both points of view.
    I’d suggest you all watch a movie called “The Great Debaters” a biographical drama film directed by and starring Denzel Washington.
    It is based on a Texas high school debate team (ironic that isn’t it) that ended up by defeating the Harvard debate team (as did I) that changed their lives and so many others for a generation. If you hope to ever be an attorney, judge, scientist, real journalist or on a Board of any kind, you’d better hone your debating skills
    I’d also suggest that require all of your writers to go to https://heterodoxacademy.org/ and get a real education.
    What you’re doing here with writers like this fool is a pointless and gutless excercise in groupthink.

  9. As an alumni, this article getting published and other recent incidents like the kid trashing displays he did not agree with in the quad show a shift in student thinking and what is accepted behavior that is just saddening. Young students should be passionate and want to change the world, but more of that passion now seems to be directed at intolerance and discrimination towards ideas they do not like or agree with. Their belief that hatred and outright violence against those they differ with is both accepted and encouraged to accomplish their goals continues to grow, and parents should be worried about what university their children will attend.

    Unfortunately, this shift in mentality is highlighted by the fact that this hateful and violence-inciting opinion piece was not rejected by the first editor that read it. It demeans an entire culture (racism) and calls for it’s destruction (genocide). This apology is strong and seems heartfelt, but the fact that the op-ed was even considered for publication demonstrates not just poor judgement, but at the very least a sympathetic belief towards the content. As a native Texan and SWT (pre-TSU name) alumni I am both angry and embarrassed.

  10. In real life people get fired for what was allowed to happen here. Journalists get fired for “inappropriate and unprofessional” tweeting after hours. (Fischer, 2017) Editors get fired too. (Kelly, 2017) This was done on the clock, approved and printed by ‘editors’ and the opinion piece that was written was meant to divide people by color and incite hate. I am very certain you have a Compliance Office and Title XI which is supposed to stop hate speech and exclusion of other human beings. The United Nations has articles that address this type of nonsense and since you insist that this is a job, that appropriate actions have been taken, and let us not forget the First Amendment, then let me remind you of some articles that are written to prevent this type of intolerance.

    United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Article 2 – ” Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

    United Nations Declaration of Human Rights: Article 23 – “Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.” (Universal Declaration of Human Rights)

    With these UN articles in place it makes me wonder if you have any ‘white’ people in your ‘work environment’. It also makes me wonder how you, the editors, were not fired for infringing on someone else’s basic human rights. When your ‘freedoms’ (freedom of speech, et al) infringe on someone else’s basic human rights then someone else’s rights trumps your freedoms.

    If you are not fired for allowing this to happen then you are not receiving real world knowledge and you will learn nothing from this. Consequences for negligible actions will provide you the ‘learning space’ you require so that you will understand how it functions. If you were in the real world and allowed this to run, as an editor, then the ‘ability to grow into our profession’ would be ripped out from under you as you would have been fired, effective immediately. It is how the REAL WORLD works. I hope that you are truly sorry for the hate speech you circulated around your campus and now, around the world as this has gotten to the international level. Good luck finding a job after you graduate. Employers Google and scan for social media before hiring a potential candidate. You might actually impress them though if you do the right thing and step down from your position to make room for someone more qualified and has the University’s Mission in mind before publishing rubbish.

    Fischer, S. (2017, June 05). Journalists keep getting in trouble for tweeting. Retrieved December 06, 2017, from https://www.axios.com/journalists-cant-avoid-twitter-misfires-2433656398.html
    Kelly, F. (n.d.). The Gay Times editor fired for anti-semitic and sexist tweets. Retrieved December 06, 2017, from https://www.buzz.ie/news/gay-times-editor-fired-anti-semeitic-tweets-261923
    Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (n.d.). Retrieved December 06, 2017, from http://www.un.org/en/universal-declaration-human-rights/
    Universal Declaration of Human Rights. (n.d.). Retrieved December 06, 2017, from http://www.ichrp.org/en/article_23_udhr

  11. The death threats you received are deserved. Your article attacked hundreds of millions of people on the basis of their DNA. How should they react? The death threats are justified. Take the pity card off the table.

    You are part of a system of hate, intolerance, and ignorance that has taken over college campuses. If Western Civilization, THE ENVY OF THE WORLD regardless of what you and your post modernists professors say, is to survive people like you must be removed from positions of authority.

    If your article was written about black people it would have made international news and the university would be flooded with protestors right now. You know this. What you spewed is as or more racist than ANYTHING said by members of the hated “Alt Right” so why should anyone at your paper be viewed as acceptable in polite society? Why should anyone care what a collection of vile racists like the papers staff have to say? If this kind of forgiveness for racists the new standard? Do the right thing; disband your paper and retreat into the shadows of your own hate and degenerate ideology.

  12. Honestly, this article might just have been the worst thing I’ve read in a long, long time. It’s a good sign that there’s a real apology being issued, and also a good sign that the author is being let go. It’s a good start. But that doesn’t nearly go far enough. How many people saw this article before publication? How many people had to sign off on this article before publication? It can’t have been just this one guy, right? Every single one of those people should be removed from the staff, as they have failed their jobs spectacularly. This is the most racist thing I’ve read since that one time someone linked me to Richard Spencer’s blog. That’s not okay. That shouldn’t be seen as okay in any way, shape, or form.

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