Dear West Chester,
Another semester has passed, and it has been a particularly interesting one. If you don’t know me from last semester, my name is Kristine Kearns. I am a writer and have been the Op-Ed editor for The Quad’s 2021-2022 academic year.
Recently, The Quad published an article titled, “The Journey of a Conservative Student” by student Victoria Foley. Within the article, the writer made a comparison that was harmful to marginalized communities, specifically the trans community and the Black community. Many people responded to this article and questioned how it reached final publication at all. We at The Quad carefully consider op-eds under the context of our ethics codes, and aim to prevent creating harm or becoming a platform for blatant hate. Despite our best efforts, the line between what is a publishable opinion piece and what is not often blurs. When you’re already publishing articles you don’t personally agree with, it is difficult to draw the line for what is and what is not publishable…especially when the same articles get rewritten and resubmitted multiple times.
I do not want to make this a pure apology, as it would inadvertently excuse and cover for the writer’s responsibility to write with logic and empathy. It is often important to keep in mind that any newspaper’s opinion section is a place for people to have their name on their own opinions and avoid censorship. I believe it can be beneficial to see that rash opinions like some recently-published ones actually exist, and from that, we can then understand where the state of our world is at and create discourse around that.
With that being said, I see that The Quad’s publishing of certain recent articles has created a platform for their harmful opinions to live. In retrospect, the quality of the writing and the dangers that come with Victoria Foley’s aforementioned written opinion were not as worthy of publication as we thought. Some articles made comparisons that created more harm than positive discourse. For that, the writer’s motives should be questioned if their name is on the article. Even though the writer should be solely held accountable for their pieces and the repercussions of their work, The Quad does not want to be a platform for any form of hate and strives to never publish misinformation. To improve the quality of our student newspaper, we are working on updating and posting our op-ed submission guidelines before the year is done, publishing our Ethics Codes online and practicing the normalization of article rejection.
Instead of rejecting complaints or deafening our newspaper from any source of feedback, we aim to better understand the impacts of all our published pieces and do our best to ensure that guidelines are always clearly met. I wrote a letter at the end of last semester addressing a similar situation, and I want to uphold my goals as a section editor. To reiterate: I do not stand with any form of racism, misogyny, homophobia, xenophobia, ableism, sexism, conspiracy, or any form of hate speech or ill-informed lack of research.
The experience I have had in this job has taught me a remarkable amount about journalism, rhetoric and the larger impacts of writing and public discourse. To anyone who emailed our staff complaints, feedback or sent in response pieces especially, I hear you and thank you. This wouldn’t be a student newspaper without thoughtful and insightful student responses.
Kristine Kearns is a second-year English major with a minor in Creative Writing. KK947319@wcupa.edu