The Voice has a diversity problem.
We are not alone in this—as the recent op-ed in The Hoya about the lack of diversity in GUASFCU made clear. Yet when we gathered in our office to discuss our own editorial board’s reaction to the article, we were again reminded that our editorial board is overwhelmingly white. We don’t now have all the answers to making our magazine more diverse. This editorial is instead the beginning of a larger conversation toward that end. We are in no place to judge others, but we urge every club on campus to take seriously the need for a diverse membership and work to achieve and maintain this standard.
It would be too much for us to prescribe solutions for others. Further, with the wide array of clubs on campus, each with their own specific application process and structure, it would be impossible to offer a single course of action for all.
Other clubs have initiated their own conversations on this topic. Take, for example, the Corp, which has undergone a recent attempt to address the lack of diversity they found within their own organization. We cannot judge the successes of their methods at this time, but the conversation is an important one to begin. Elsewhere on campus, some members of GUSA have recently recommended that clubs self-report diversity statistics. This is a worthy first step in the process of confronting each organization’s ability to foster a diverse community, and we commend those who have suggested it.
We at the Voice have been engaged in a running conversation on our own lack of diversity, which we have now made public in an effort to hold ourselves accountable to the same standards we would expect of others.
Part of this process means dealing with our past mistakes. Two years ago, we published a cartoon that depicted two white, male GUSA executive candidates beating a black, male candidate and his female running mate, with the latter two dressed in a horse costume. The drawing intended to satirize, but this intent is irrelevant to the ugliness which resulted. A town hall meeting followed this cartoon’s publication, and many members of the campus community gathered to discuss the drawing’s violent and racist undertones. The Voice apologized and retracted the cartoon, but the damage was done.
Today, the legacy of that cartoon still remains with our organization. Righting those lingering wrongs is an ongoing process. We are mindful of our own shortcomings, and we clearly have to do more. However this change manifests itself, we know we must achieve a significant cultural shift.
The Voice has always prided itself on not having an application. We do not screen out any candidates during an application process, but this does not absolve us of responsibility for our lack of diversity. We have failed to create a welcoming space for all, as evidenced by the makeup of our board. We must now find ways to actively address this problem.
This is not an issue that we believe we can solve in one semester. As a paper with a traditionally liberal slant, we value diversity and inclusion and believe it is necessary for creating meaningful content that gives voice to all members of our community. We recognize that much of our role in this conversation is to listen. This is not a prescription, nor a cry for help. It is an acknowledgment that the makeup of this editorial board and of this organization in general do not reflect the wider Georgetown community.
The Voice exists to serve our community by reporting on vital topics, providing a platform for student voices, and striving to hold Georgetown’s institutions accountable. We cannot do this without first conducting serious reflection inside the walls of Leavey 424. This is the beginning of a continually evolving conversation. We can, and should, do better.