Staff Editorial: Making changes to The Lawrentian

In light of ongoing issues of representation in The Lawrentian, we, as an editorial board, have reflected on where we have fallen short and are taking the opportunity in this staff editorial to demonstrate our commitment to improving our publication in the future. We are taking the concerns that have been raised very seriously. We have heard you, and we would like to take the time to formally apologize for the decisions we have made. People have felt misrepresented and been underrepresented in our coverage, and the harmful impact of this takes precedence over anything. 

As the primary news source for Lawrence University, we take our responsibility to the student body very seriously. We know that it is our job to represent all voices on campus fairly and accurately.

In order to best explain the changes that we are looking to make, we feel it is important to first explain our relationship with the administration. While we recognize that in the past we have often given the administration a free platform, the administration has no say in the content we publish. That being said, in the future, we aim to give a more equal balance between student voices and administrative voices. Our job is to present our readers with all the facts and provide an outlet for every person involved, even the ones we disagree with — but that can never come at the expense of our student body. We never want to privilege the administration’s response over students’ experiences and concerns. We have often failed to provide the full perspective, and marginalized students have been underrepresented, and this is going to change.

It is because students have done the difficult task of speaking out repeatedly that we have the opportunity to change The Lawrentian for the better. Since we are a student-run publication and the administration has no input in our decision-making process, we are in a great position to make any changes that we and the student body want to see. While we acknowledge that there is still much more to be done, we wanted to let you, our readers, know the changes that are already in motion.

First and foremost, we are working to facilitate collaboration between our writers and other students who want to have their voice represented in our publication. If you want to be involved in the coverage of an event or topic that matters to you, we want to make it easier for you to do that. We have discussed various options, including a rethinking of our article editing process so it includes both our staff and affected students or a potential writing partnership between our trained reporters and representatives from marginalized organizations who have a truer understanding of the issues at hand — this is underway. 

For students who want their voice included but do not want to work directly with our staff, we want to be able to accommodate your voice as well. Although these types of submitted articles may not be labeled as news, we are considering redesigning our paper layout in order to prominently display these voices.This could take the form of a weekly section on the front page dedicated to any submitted features, a shuffling of pages so features takes the cover and news is shifted to page two or something else entirely. As this brainstorming process continues, we will try to keep our readership updated.

Finally, we are setting up long overdue formal anti-racism training for our editorial board, and we want to do a better job building relationships with diversity, equity and inclusion organizations on campus. We are scheduling an event in the near future to start this conversation, and we hope that through these connections, our staff can become more diverse and equity-focused.

This is only the start of our work to become better, and we promise that this conversation will continue for years. We would like to thank the students who have come forward with their criticisms and concerns. This feedback is incredibly valuable in showing us where we can do better. 

We are in the beginning stages of making real change within our organization, and we will take any feedback students would like to offer. If anyone would like to be involved in this process of adapting or offer any additional suggestions or concerns, we encourage you to reach out to us at lawrentian@lawrence.edu. We know that there is more that we can be doing, and want our readers to help us make this change.

Thank you for sharing your stories with us, and, as always, thank you for reading. 


Letters to the Editor can be sent in to Opinions & Editorials Editor, Genevieve Cook, at lawrentian@lawrence.edu. We review all letters and consider them for publication. The Lawrentian staff reserves the right to edit for clarity, decency, style and space. All letters should be submitted on the Monday before publication, and should not be more than 350 words.

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