To the current editorial board of The Statesman,
We are extremely disappointed and disturbed that the current group of editors would allow the opinions piece “Does diversity really matter?” to be published.
At the elementary level of opinion writing, this doesn’t even reach the mark of what constitutes an opinion piece. It’s poorly written, with no clear argument, and with very little (if any) research. It reads as a personal rant from the author who just wanted to vent a privately-held opinion (which, to be clear, is not the definition of an opinion piece) and unfortunately was given the platform of The Statesman to do so.
Stony Brook University has an entire academic center dedicated to the study of masculinity, offering a master’s in the subject which is the first program of its kind in the country. The Statesman has covered this center since its inception and even published a story about it last semester.
There are departments focusing on European languages, which still exist in some form despite recent budget cuts. Clubs are not the only part of the university ecosystem that should be scrutinized for diversity. There should never be a place on a college campus for scrutiny of students celebrating what makes them different and brings them together.
The entire piece is solely the individual opinion of the author, only substantiated by her personal experience. While that does meet the dictionary definition of an opinion, that doesn’t come close to what the standards should be for an opinion piece published in a newspaper. The argument needs to be defensible. Reporting is still involved. Research is still involved. Or it is supposed to be, because that clearly did not take place in this instance.
As former editors-in-chief and managing editors of The Statesman, we cannot imagine what must have changed so drastically at the paper to allow the atmosphere for this so-called opinion piece to be published. The Statesman is better than publishing a piece like this, you as the editors are better. At the very least, you are supposed to be. It is extremely disheartening that you all have allowed the paper’s editorial standards to degrade so rapidly when so many former editors, just in the last four years, worked so hard to save this very paper from bankruptcy.
Beyond the concerns stated above, we are worried about the diverse young reporters and editors at the paper who don’t have the same role models to turn to as we did. For many of us who are women and women of color, we had the solidarity of our fellow Statesman reporters and editors who understood that our presence, our experiences, and our opinions were invaluable in learning how to accurately and adequately cover the campus community.
We know this article doesn’t represent the views of The Statesman but this does represent the tone deafness and irresponsibility that must exist on the editorial board if such a poorly researched and argued op-ed was allowed to be published.
We better than anyone understand the pressures you face to put out quality journalism. But don’t let these pressures compromise the enormous role you play on campus. Think critically as to what your staff is pitching to you. Challenge each other. If you have doubts, raise them. And welcome it when others challenge you.
Arielle Martinez, Editor-in-Chief 2016 – 2017
Hanaa’ Tameez, Editor-in-Chief 2015 – 2016
Rebecca Anzel, Editor-in-Chief 2014 – 2015
Deanna Del Ciello, Editor-in-Chief 2013 – 2014
Kelly Zegers, Managing Editor 2015 – 2016
Keith Olsen, Managing Editor 2014 – 2015