Vassar Student Newspaper Retracts Article, Apologizes for Quoting Too Many ‘White Students’

The Vassar College student newspaper announced this week that it has retracted an article published in February, because “the majority of our quotations came from white students.”

The student newspaper, the Miscellany News, explained that on February 17, it had reported that former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson — who served during the Obama administration— withdrew from his spot as the next commencement speaker at Vassar College.

Jeh Johnson(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“This article intended to report on student feelings about Johnson’s nomination and subsequent withdrawal. Since then, the online version of the article has been pulled from The Miscellany News website — a decision made by the Executive Board in concert with the News Editors.”

The editorial board went on to explain that the article was pulled because it featured too many quotes from white students.

“In prioritizing urgency over thoroughness, we made misguided and insensitive oversights with whom we were representing in the article and failed to provide in-depth reporting of the issue at large,” they said.

“The majority of our quotations came from white students and therefore we reduced the positions of students of color to a singular, tokenized perspective,” they added.

The student newspaper also stressed its commitment to “values of diversity and inclusion,” and claimed the removed article “exemplifies many of the institutional flaws and structural problems within our paper.”

The editorial board went on to proclaim that “consistent action must be taken in order to address the systemic problems within The Miscellany News.

“One of these steps includes our current process of making a review board that aims to examine quotes and sources to ensure both their veracity and the integrity of their representation within the article,” the board added.

“Journalism, including college journalism, has historically been a white-centric, often elitist field, and The Miscellany News is not immune to the consequences of these structures,” the newspaper claimed.

“The publication of the article and its subsequent removal reminds us of the systemic issues our members are implicated in, as well as the privilege and lack of diversity that we have allowed to persist for generations across our boards,” the board added.

“As a college newspaper, we want to emphasize that though we are committed to covering news of the Vassar community and campus, our main priority will always be to report all student voices to the best of our ability,” they said.

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Facebook and Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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