Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

A Minority Newsroom Report

Allison Carpenter’s ignorant comments in her letter to the editor (“Hoya Environment Unwelcoming to Minorities,” The Hoya, Nov. 2, 2004, A2) offended me.

I am among the “sole minority” students in positions of power of The Hoya.

I was the first woman and first person of color to ever work on The Hoya’s Web site.

I was a person of color who was a member of The Hoya’s editorial board.

I was one of a handful of staff writers of color who wrote news.

Now, I am one of the few minorities, an Asian-American conservative woman, who is a contributing editor of this newspaper.

I have in fact been quite vocal about how welcome I, as a minority, feel at The Hoya. I have spoken with past editors in chief about feeling out of place with a largely homogenous staff.

Every single one of them has been open to my concerns and made a concerted effort to encourage the staff to be more welcoming. Much progress has occurred at this paper since my nervous days as a freshman news writer. Today, when I walk into The Hoya’s office, I feel like an editor whose viewpoint is respected on the same par as any other editor.

Just because you may not see people that look like you does not mean that they are not welcoming to you. Ignorance exists everywhere and is not just targeted at Muslims or Asians. Instead of considering an entire staff racist for not knowing how the uslim Student Association stands or what are the names of Hindu gods, Ms. Carpenter should instead make it her goal to share her background and explain how such things can be offensive.

In the office, I have been repeatedly offended at grossly inaccurate comments about the Roman Catholic faith and Republicans, at a supposedly “conservative Catholic” school. I don’t write off The Hoya as unwelcoming to minorities. I share my heritage and beliefs.

I admit that The Hoya is a close group. I often wondered whether I could fit into it. But every student organization creates a tight circle if they spend enough time together. You put any group of people together for hours and hours into the night, and they will get to know each other very well.

As a senior web editor, I spent all night waiting for the sections to finish before I could post the Web. I knew everyone by name as well as all about their political views, their families and even their pets.

The Hoya can be a tight-knit group, but there is always room for more. As a freshman, I was nervous about coming to the office on production nights, but that soon changed as I wrote more articles and came to know the news editors better.

I attended Hoya parties but did not drink until age 21. Although some events are organized around drinking, an alternate beverage is always available. No one has ever pushed me to drink. Even on champagne night, editors-in-chief have asked whether a student would prefer non-alcoholic cider. As a web editor, I have exercised that preference.

“Pro-minority” papers are not necessarily welcoming either. The Fire This Time counts among its editors a variety of minorities, such as African-Americans, Hispanics and Asian-Americans. Reading through their paper, I recognize that I would feel very out of place. I would feel unwelcome, not as a minority, but as a conservative. Differences run deeper than skin color and Ms. Carpenter, of all people, should recognize that.

The Hoya is a newspaper aimed at expressing diverse viewpoints. Try talking about your heritage and beliefs with fellow students. The discussion that develops could evolve into a feature which could be published and educate the entire campus about diversity. Check out The Hoya archives. We published it.

Maya Noronha is a senior in the College and a contributing editor of The Hoya.

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