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Editorial: A call to dismantle systemic racism on Palatine Hill

At its core, The Pioneer Log is the voice of the student body. Our reporting makes every effort to accurately detail news and opinion at Lewis & Clark. However, we recognize that, as a historically white organization, our stories do not adequately represent the experiences of students of color. In light of George Floyd’s murder and desire for meaningful action on campus, we join the student body in demanding clear policies that address systemic racism at LC. Substantive change begins by stating, unequivocally, that black lives matter.

After the LC Executive Council sent their June 1 “message of solidarity,” students and alumni across the country took to social media and criticized the statement as weak and unsupportive. In the community’s eyes, words of solidarity must be matched with action that works to eliminate systemic racism across LC. We find it necessary to fully endorse the concerns of our fellow students and alumni. Stating that racism is a problem and calling for collective action appears hollow if a concrete plan to enact change is not active and communicated to the broader community. The sense of disenfranchisement among black students on Palatine Hill is real and palpable. The silence of failing to recognize that disenfranchisement was deafening. By not explicitly addressing the concerns of students and alumni, administrators failed to create a sense of solidarity and support for the black community, thereby contributing to their marginalization. We call upon LC administrators, faculty and staff to produce and circulate policies that strive towards eradicating systemic racism in our community. If there is heart behind your words, show us through your actions.

A newspaper is only as good as its contributors. Likewise, coverage is only definitive if our contributors represent the composition of our community. Criticism of the media’s reporting on George Floyd and issues of race are valid and, in the past, The Pioneer Log has at times been part of the media’s problematic approach to covering stories on race. As we approach the 2020-21 academic year, The Pioneer Log is committed to scrutinizing systemic racism within its own ranks. The Fall 2020 editorial board is the most diverse in years, perhaps in the history of our publication. However, that is far from enough. We will increase outreach and recruit contributors from minority groups. This summer, we will review and revise our Code of Ethics and styleguide to create rules that improve coverage on issues of race while maintaining journalistic ethics. Our editorial board will reach out to campus affinity groups, schedule meetings and explore ways of improving our reporting. As the Fall 2020 semester grows nearer, we will connect with Student Leadership and Service to organize bias training for our editors and contributors. Most importantly, we will listen to the concerns of our readers, engage with a wider audience of sources and publish stories that better reflect the reality of being an LC community member. We know that these actions are not wholly sufficient. It is not the responsibility of marginalized groups to educate those that oppress, but we are receptive to suggestions from anyone interested in helping us combat institutional racism within our organization.

Throughout the summer, The Pioneer Log will continue operating remotely, publishing stories on our website whenever necessary. If you are interested in writing, illustrating or taking photographs, please contact us at piolog@lclark.edu. We are proud to be your student-run newspaper and will use our platform to support the voice of students through excellent, engaged journalism.

Nicholas Nerli, Editor-in-Chief

Ihsaan Mohamed, Managing Editor

Stuart Myers, Business Manager

Tyler Short, Copy Chief

Venus Edlin, News Editor

Jacob Muscarella, News Editor

Isabella Met, Opinion Editor

Madeline Cox, Features Editor

Aubrey Roche, Arts Editor

Aidan D’Anna, Sports Editor

Mackenzie Herring, Backdoor Editor

Jo Tabacek, Photography Editor

Alex Barr, Web & Social Media Manager

Charlotte Powers, Head of Broadcasting

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