As I finished reading yesterday’s feature about freshman Kyle Rapinan, and with resolutions standing in ASUW and GPSS regarding last quarter’s column by John Fay entitled “Gay Marriage? Let’s stop and think about this,” I felt a need to share my thoughts.
I was taken aback by Kyle’s story of coming out in a family that didn’t accept him and in a society that taunted and harassed him. I respect him for his active role in the gay community and his effort to educate people about homophobia.
However, before ever knowing his entire story, I was most affected by Kyle’s effort to organize the anti-hate, anti-homophobia rally that took place last quarter in response to Fay’s column and the accompanying illustration.
As I read on, I agreed with most of what Kyle said; most importantly that the discussion that started last quarter must continue, and I, as a representative of The Daily, want to be a part of that discussion.
Our newsroom is always open to people who want to pitch story ideas, know more about what we do, or help our staff become more informed about the issues we cover. These things make us better journalists.
The GPSS resolution and proposed ASUW resolution call for an explanation of our publication standards to ensure journalistic integrity about the selection of articles, accompanying images and the layout for all sections of the paper. For those who are interested, our mission statement is available on our Web site, dailyuw.com; we also abide by the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, accessible through SPJ’s Web site. Any questions about these guiding documents are always welcome.
The resolutions also call for the sharing of any contemplated amendments to our publication standards. Each month, the Board of Student Publications meets to discuss these and other issues, and is in charge of amending Daily policies. The first board meeting of the quarter — open to the public — is tomorrow at 3 p.m. in the Communications building, room 065.
Finally, the resolutions called for an apology from our Editorial Board, or for myself and the opinion editor, Natalie Sikavi, to resign.
Last quarter, I spoke with many fellow journalists about my decision not to print an apology, and my decision hasn’t changed. I believe a printed apology would only be a surface fix. To me, the gay community and the discussion about gay rights deserve more than that. This means having conversations among different communities on this campus, including people we may or may not agree with.
The only way this will happen is if we exercise and protect our right to free speech. A printed apology would actually say to some members of this community that their opinions cannot be expressed and should be censored. My hope is that our community never comes to a point where some of its members feel they don’t have a voice.
I know that the article and accompanying illustration hurt many people and created a gap between The Daily and certain members of the UW community. This was not the intention. Our intent was, and still is, to provide a forum for discussion between members of our community about an important topic we cannot ignore.
The Daily is still the newspaper of every member of the UW community, which is why I value the opinions of those who were hurt or offended by what was printed.
I hope this can be an opportunity to foster important exchanges between different communities at this university, and that it can be used to gain an understanding of one another. I encourage every member of the UW community to be willing to be a part of this conversation while respecting differing beliefs and upholding everyone’s right to feel safe and be heard. To protect our right to say what we believe, we must protect the same right of those we don’t agree with. Without that, we cannot and will not grow, learn or be able to serve one another.
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