WIN, SPECTRUM elaborate on petition
Other contributors to this column: Danielle Palomo, Ruby Kim, Shannon Hart, and Shelbi Smith
We started the Change.org petition on behalf of our student organizations, the Women’s Interest Network and SPECTRUM (LGBTQ organization), as well as on behalf of the many SMU students deeply disturbed by recent articles published in The Daily Campus. Our objective is to create a safer campus environment. We have been deeply concerned by the growing trend of sexist and heteronormative articles published this semester. The Daily Campus not only reports news, but it also actively shapes and influences public reality with the publication of articles and opinion columns.
To address our critics, we do not, and have never sought censorship. Furthermore, this is not about freedom of speech. As feminist activists, we assert that op-eds like those cited in our petition are harmful; they threaten the mental health of students and discourage students from reporting sexual assaults and hate crimes. Every time The Daily Campus posts a column that defends rape culture, rationalizes rape and shifts accountability from rapist(s) to victim, the paper becomes complicit to rape culture. In this regard, it becomes part of the problem; it becomes another institution that suppresses victim’s self-worth and agency, excusing bodily violation and supporting a culture wherein rape is inevitable. Our petition is intended to hold The Daily Campus accountable for its publications and influences as a reflection of SMU culture.
Let it be known, our campaign is not to attack The Daily Campus, more accurately, it is a series of inquiries, with our principal question being: What does The Daily Campus owe to our student body?
Over the past weekend, we have found ourselves overwhelmed by the great number of responses; our campaign has certainly incited discourse that has brought together people, local and national, off and online, across multiple mediums and forums. Last night, we met with the Editorial Board of the paper. Our jobs are certainly not over; nor our objectives met. However, The Daily Campus has not ignored us; it has not ignored those of you who signed the petition. We, along with The Daily Campus, will not let this pass — we will be working together to draft plans to address our concerns and develop solutions.
We welcome a culture of consent.
Danielle Palomo (President of the Women’s Interest Network)
Ruby Kim (Vice President of the Women’s Interest Network)
Shannon Hart (Co-President of SPECTRUM)
Shelbi Smith (Co-President of SPECTRUM)
Samuel Partida (Undergrad. Assistant within the Women’s & Gender Studies Program)