The front page of the Argus from Tuesday, May 5 featured a photograph taken at Monday’s Usdan Takeover, an event organized by the members of the student of color community to call attention to the racial injustices that persist on campus and around the world in light of the recent protests in Baltimore, Md.

The photo depicted Darian Sanders ’17 standing before a crowd of students and speaking about his personal experiences with racial prejudice. The caption read, “Darian Sanders ’17 takes the mic at the Can I Live?! Usdan Takeover that occupied Usdan University Center from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Monday, May 4. Students shared their experiences, poetry, and songs to express solidarity with Baltimore, Md. and other communities affected by police brutality.” This was the extent of The Argus’s coverage of the event. No article had been written to accompany the photo.

After The Argus was distributed, two of the Takeover’s organizers, Marjahn Finlayson ’15 and Arnelle Williams ’17, as well as participant LaNell Williams ’15, expressed at a meeting with Argus editors their dissatisfaction with the paper’s coverage of the event, and of events run by students of color in general.

“I was so excited to see that the Argus actually covered the event yesterday, only to see that we actually weren’t,” Finlayson wrote on Tuesday in a post in the Takeover’s Facebook event. “The Argus took a picture of Darian speaking at the event and took no measures to get any context for what took place yesterday.”

The Argus certainly did not intend to silence black voices or overlook the racism and hardships that members of the student body confront on a daily basis. Rather, our decision to include the photo in the newspaper without a complementary article was a pragmatic one. Production for Tuesday’s Argus occurs on Monday afternoons, meaning that we began finalizing the paper just after the Takeover had ended. We resolved that a standalone photograph on the front page would at least show to readers that the event happened, and that it was important to campus. Despite not having the resources to report and write an article for that day, we felt that not printing a photograph would be a greater injustice than printing just one.

That said, good intentions don’t cut it. A newspaper should speak for itself, and the issue that we put out on Tuesday said that we didn’t care enough. Ultimately, our actions were inexcusable and disrespectful to Wesleyan’s student of color community. Perhaps more importantly, they highlight a larger issue: The Argus’s insufficient coverage of events organized and led by students of color. Finlayson, Williams, and Williams pointed out to us that in the past year, specifically, The Argus has failed to publish articles on events such as those organized by the Caribbean Students Association and the annual Jubilee, which celebrates black culture in the African Diaspora. This neglect of students of color must be resolved immediately, and going forward, we plan to work as hard as is necessary to do so.

We’ve started by publishing an article (online, since The Argus is finished printing for the semester) on the Takeover. We recognize that this cannot compensate for our initial oversight, but we think it’s a good place to start.

As for the future, the Editors-in-Chief have made coverage of student of color events, groups, and life a top priority for next semester. We are committed to representing the entirety of the student body and recognize that if we have not done so, we have not done our job. It was pointed out to us that much of the content we do publish about student of color-run events depict moments of crisis and trauma, such as vigils, the Black Lives Matter March, and other protests. Going forward, we plan to also represent communities of color on celebratory, artistic, and day-to-day occasions, as it is our goal to represent all angles of student life on campus.

One major issue at the source of our lack of representation of students of color, and black students specifically, is the lack of diversity within The Argus as an organization. Our staff, and our editorial staff in particular, is predominantly white. As much as we try to overcome biases and reflect multiple perspectives in our journalism, we ultimately cannot separate our experiences from the content we produce. The Argus has always been a volunteer, unpaid group, but despite our biannual recruitments and open staff meetings, our demographics remain mostly unchanged. We seek to better diversify the Argus staff, beginning next semester, so that the paper includes a wider variety of perspectives that reflect the community as a whole.

We hope to make The Argus a place where all students see themselves represented in multifaceted and human ways. We want the newspaper to be a platform for the many voices that comprise the Wesleyan community, a student newspaper by and for all of Wesleyan students. We acknowledge our mistake, and we thank students for communicating to us their dissatisfaction with The Argus’ coverage of and relationship to students of color. It is our hope that by making The Argus more transparent in its operations, and more forthright in its shortcomings, we can be better held accountable and work with the community to find solutions. This has already begun. We plan to continue this conversation, and we strive to do better next semester and in the future.

  • DKE Bro

    Anyone can join the Argus, has always been this way. If there are no students of color on staff, that is the fault of that community, not the Argus.

    • Run DMV

      Hear hear.

    • Seems to be pretty obvious…

      That’s the problem. It’s not solely up to SOCs to bring attention to events like these on campus. They effect our whole community regardless of race and if you are a writer for the argus, it’s your job to be covering issues that affect the larger community that you are a part of.

      • alum

        Why aren’t there many SOCs on staff?

      • Alpha Masta Beta

        If one categorizes Jews as students of color (via their Semitic roots and the perceived marginalization of their religion), SoCs become the majority at Wes!

        The fun part, of course, is that this “marginalized majority” still plays victim and pretends that they are oppressed.

      • Save us from the Jews

        Read all about it! Jews control media! Wesleyan Argus just another pawn in the Jew world domination campaign! Read all about it in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion!

      • Alpha Masta Beta

        This guy gets it! At least the entire world isn’t brainwashed by the Zion Elite… yet.

        Fight the good fight! Don’t eat the matza! They use it to cast their spells!

      • Don’t eat that red matza

        And as we all know the Zion Elite make that Matza with the blood of school children. Just wondering, if an athlete eats matza is that considered blood doping and PED use?

      • Alpha Masta Beta

        Yes. When the Zion Elite aren’t poisoning wells or stealing children for their cannibal fetishes, they are attempting to get athletes banned from competitive sports via inadvertent positive tests. True story.

    • Correction

      As the article states, the positions are strictly volunteer and unpaid. This weeds out many interested students who do not have the opportunity to spend a great time commitment on the Argus when balancing multiple other jobs on campus. Perhaps a solution would be to offer work-study pay. This can bring more diversity to the staff. As a response to your comment, realistically not anyone can join the Argus. People with the financial security to dedicate large amounts of time to an unpaid position have the biggest opportunity to join.

      • DKE Bro

        I agree, it can be tough to balance a weed habit with a job at the Argus. On the other hand, work study pay would pay for more weed.

  • Eddie Murphy’s Red Jumpsuit

    That the Argus caved and apologized for a perceived injustice is sad. There was nothing wrong with the coverage. It is ludicrous that students at Wes think they are being silenced or don’t have a voice. Of any institute of higher education in America, Wes is the most friendly and open to giving every individual their soapbox.

    You’ve lost any credibility and journalistic strength you had. Never show culpability or apologize for something when you didn’t do anything wrong.

    • Derrick Holman

      What is ludicrous is that you think your perspective should trump those of all the students who believed there was something wrong with the coverage. Becase YOU saw nothing wrong with it that means everyone else should just shut up and accept your limited world view? “Never show culpability or apologize” ….Lol.

      • Eddie Murphy’s Porn Stache

        Of course this was MY opinion, MY “limited world view”–did it sound like I was attempting to channel the collective psyche of everyone else? One can only speak for oneself. I believe it was ludicrous for the Argus to apologize for a perceived wrongdoing, simply because the students who objected were in a position to use guilt leverage. In a place like Wesleyan, where every student feels they are having wrongs committed against them at every turn (but, in reality, live in one of the most nurtured and open-minded/free communities in the world), iff you keep apologizing and bowing to individuals when they object, you become a weak, apologetic twerp with zero strength of credibility. That’s the real world truth.

  • Well put

    Bravo, thank you!

  • interested reader

    I want to commend both the students who brought this important issue to the Argus’ attention and the Argus editorial staff for its response, especially in understanding what a true apology entails. The previous comments notwithstanding, I would like to believe the Wesleyan community is full of enough open-minded, intelligent, and compassionate individuals to make progress addressing the complicated and long-standing racial injustice problems that continue to plague our communities.