A student newspaper’s editorial board at a New York liberal arts college wrote an apology this week for a February article — claiming too many white students were quoted — and issued a retraction.
The article that was retracted by Vassar College’s newspaper, The Miscellany News, centered on the withdrawal of former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson from giving a speech at commencement this year. Johnson decided against speaking after campus pushback on his border deportation policies.
On Wednesday, The Miscellany News published an apology for the Johnson piece — noting its staff believes in the “values of diversity and inclusion.” The student newspaper said it chose to yank the article “to prevent further harm among the communities we misrepresented” since most people quoted in it were apparently white students.
“The majority of our quotations came from white students and therefore we reduced the positions of students of color to a singular, tokenized perspective,” the apology said. “After this was brought to our attention, the paper decided to remove the article online in an attempt to prevent further harm among the communities we misrepresented.”
“However, misrepresentation is not the only issue in the article—to state so would be a grievous oversimplification,” the apology continued, noting that journalism “has historically been a white-centric” profession and that its decision to quote white students was indicative of “the privilege and lack of diversity that we have allowed to persist for generations across our boards.”
The student newspaper’s editor in chief did not respond to a Daily Wire request for comment. Replacing Johnson to speak at commencement, who was the first black man to serve as DHS Secretary, is actor John Leguizamo. The Miscellany News says Leguziamo has “pride in his Latinx ethnicity.”
Vassar, located in Poughkeepsie, is no stranger to controversy. In 2015, an administrator ripped up a copy of the U.S. Constitution, watchdog group Project Veritas reported. In a statement to The Daily Wire, the Town of Poughkeepsie’s Republican Committee Chair said the student newspaper is engaging in censorship.
“Retracting a story because a specific demographic is under quoted not only discounts the opinions of those quoted, it censors the writer,” said Amy Bombardieri. “If a wide enough variety of people were not utilized, the better way to correct the situation would be to expand on the story. Censorship is a very dangerous way to ensure feelings aren’t hurt.”
In order to ensure the “integrity” of quotes included in future articles, the newspaper announced it will craft a “review board” separate from the editorial board — so it can “address the systemic problems” it faces.