The Villanovan stands with Black students, faculty, staff and alumni of Villanova University and condemns the racist murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and countless other Black Americans. Law enforcement is rarely appropriately held accountable for brutalizing Black people daily in the United States. Racism is a reality that everyone can no longer ignore. We must do better. We must be better.
Reporting the objective truth and protecting basic human rights are not mutually exclusive. We are committed to serving the Villanova community and reject the idea that we, as an organization, cannot simultaneously call out blatant racism and injustice in our nation.
As an industry, journalism has historically ignored the voices of those who have been marginalized, and The Villanovan is no exception. We recognize our shortfalls in representing people of color on campus.
A college newsroom should reflect the background and diversity of its student body. In a time when it is vital for Black people to be able to construct their own narratives to be shared, a student newspaper should be an ally and an avenue that allows them to do so. When newsrooms lack diversity, perspectives and stories go unheard, and the chasm between reader and journalist widens.
A college newspaper is often a journalist’s first step into the industry, so it is vital that we make a conscious effort in recruiting a diverse staff. As an organization, we will implement workshops to further train our editors, reporters and photographers on how to effectively and adequately cover race and protests, while acknowledging white reporters’ privilege when reporting on such events. We want to engage in a larger dialogue surrounding race and racism within the Villanova community. We acknowledge that in our reporting, we have sometimes been complicit in failing to elevate Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) voices. We must do better and strive for anti-racism. Anything less than that will not be tolerated.
The Villanovan will continue covering protests against police brutality in our own community and nationwide, striving for responsible journalism that keeps the rights and safety of those we are covering in mind. We know we can do better. We hope these events serve as a wake up call not only to The Villanovan, but news outlets everywhere to work on becoming more reflective of the society we claim to document so truthfully. For too long, discrimination and oppression have damaged the fabric of our society and culture, and The Villanovan will not remain passive or silent. We are committed to raising the voices of those who need to be heard, even if they can only utter three words: “I can’t breathe.”
The Editorial Staff is developing an actionable plan for how we will better represent people of color in our newsroom and in our pieces. We aim to foster relationships with Black and minority students and student groups on campus to elevate the voices that are often silenced at Villanova, a Predominantly White Institution. We make this commitment as student journalists, but also as members of a society that has perpetuated and turned a blind eye to centuries of violence and brutality against Black Americans. We will constantly educate ourselves about the prejudice, inequity and violence that has plagued our nation, and we will continue to report these acts honestly and justly. That is our promise as an organization, as journalists and most importantly, as allies of the Black community. As always, we welcome feedback on how we can do better.
As journalists, we understand the importance of an informed citizen, but we call on our readers to go beyond informing themselves and begin acting on what they have learned. They should use the wealth of information at their disposal about race, police brutality and systemic injustice in order to critically assess their biases. Once this happens, progress can be made towards a solution. Most importantly, we implore our readers to not let this fade from consciousness.
Black Lives Matter.