St. Olaf Community,
First, we would like to acknowledge that we should have written this letter many days ago. Black Lives Matter at The Mess, and we should have voiced that immediately. We stand with those mourning the loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless other Black people lost to police brutality.
We want to share some updates on actions our organization will take in response to the movement sweeping our world.
We will include anti-bias training in our on-boarding week in the fall, a training that will be repeated each year for all staff members. Remaining oriented towards justice is vital in the world of reporting, and we want each of our team members to have concrete training that will keep this goal in mind at all times.
We will increase our tabling and reach out to specific organizations on campus to increase the voices that are represented by our newspaper. We want all students to feel included and involved in campus news, and we will actively use our marketing team to ensure all students are connected.
We will have a set of books in our office next year detailing anti-racism and journalistic accountability that all our staff members and writers can check out at any time. These provided resources will encourage our staff to educate themselves and commit to anti-racism both personally and in their reporting.
At this time, we also feel it is our duty to recall the protests against racism that happened at St. Olaf three years ago. We want to build the institutional memory of those events so that we can continue the work started in April of 2017.
We are calling attention to the issue of The Messenger published on the two year anniversary of the protests, ‘Where the Inequity Lies,’ written and reported by Avery Ellfeldt ’19. We will continue to research the demands issued by The Collective for Change on the Hill and signed by President David Anderson, and we will publish an update on the four year anniversary of the protests this coming school year.
Journalism is a powerful tool, and we strive to use that tool in the best way we can. Media often shapes how we think, and in a civil rights movement like the one we are currently experiencing, it is imperative that reporting is honest and uplifts the correct narrative.
We hope you all stay safe and well in these times of upheaval, and we hope that the momentum gathered this past week launches us into a more just future.
Grace Peacore and Jacob Maranda
Managing Editor and Executive Editor