The Collegian
Sunday, June 20, 2021

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Letter to the Reader: The Collegian's duty to the UR community

<p>Graphic by Annie Scalet/The Collegian</p>

Graphic by Annie Scalet/The Collegian

Dear Readers,

I hope you are safe and well at this time. My name is Morgan Howland and I am the new editor-in-chief of The Collegian. I am humbled and honored to take on this role and duty to serve the University of Richmond community.

As UR continues to confront its institutional history after discussion surrounding the naming of buildings on campus began almost two years ago to this day, the way that UR currently memorializes Robert Ryland and Douglas Southall Freeman has brought our community to a period of reconciliation. This topic arose amid a series of issues that have particularly affected people of color on this campus, including the writing of a racist epithet on a student’s door, police violence against Black people and rising numbers of hate crimes in our nation. 

We exist in a time where activism has been met with inexcusable apathy. Much of the undue burden that apathy to racial justice has brought into our community has fallen to our community members who face the negative realities of racism and discrimination at UR, in Richmond and in the world at large.

The Collegian respects the decisions of students, faculty and staff who disaffiliate from UR on March 25 in support of the UR Black Student Coalition’s demands released in a March 4 statement.

I take the calls from the Black Student Coalition for the UR community to stand in solidarity with Black students by stepping down from public-facing, extracurricular organizations seriously. As an independent organization that serves to inform the community and hold people accountable, I want to be transparent that The Collegian will remain active in order to provide accurate, fair and timely information to the UR community.

As my predecessor Olivia Diaz stated in a letter to the reader last year, The Collegian will actively report on discrimination and hate that affects our campus, no matter what. Our community must be informed about the events that we face at this time, and The Collegian will remain steadfast in its commitment to being a trustworthy source of information.

Please know that everyone is welcome to contact The Collegian with their stories if they are willing to share them. Every member of the UR community deserves to be heard. The Collegian will do its best to provide a platform for your voices. 

It is important to acknowledge our inherent shortcomings as a publication, as The Collegian is a predominantly white organization on campus. We are aware that a lack of racial and ethnic diversity of staff can affect our reporting of stories about racial discrimination. I want to reaffirm The Collegian’s commitment to diversifying our staff to cover the campus holistically.

Ultimately, The Collegian is dedicated to its mission to report the truth accurately, inclusively and in the spirit of free inquiry to inform the UR community and cultivate civic engagement. 

Take care,

Morgan

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