Letter From the Editor
It feels unfamiliar to write in my own voice, to recognize myself staring back at me as I type. I am used to piecing together research and interviews in a way that, while certainly in my own words, obscures the person behind the page.
Now, I am vulnerable, my words exposed. Perhaps there is a power in that.
At the core of my love for the Observer, there has always been a firm belief in the importance of student journalism. Throughout my time at Tufts, this belief has been fortified by the countless times we as a student body have witnessed the voices of the powerful attempt to overtake the voices of the marginalized.
It is unacceptable that, at a school that consistently utilizes rhetoric of anti-racism and freedom of expression, these values are not actually enacted. In this year alone, the pages of the Observer have held stories about students’ experiences with racism and ableism on campus, the “mass exodus” and mistreatment of faculty and staff of color, and the lack of administrative support for ethnic studies programs. None of these situations are unique to the present moment, but rather recurring issues felt deep within the student body and campus community.
At the same time, both recently and in years past, student journalists have been met with threats and an administration that employs manipulative intimidation tactics against us. Articles that highlight the wrongdoings of the university—particularly racism and other direct harm or negligence—are rarely met with any change or visible attempts to do better by the administration, but have been frequently met with a pattern of hostility and accusations of poor journalistic practices. The only logical conclusion I can draw from these experiences is that Tufts, not unlike many American universities, cares more about its reputation than about actually serving its students, faculty, and staff.
I call upon our readers, administration, and my fellow student journalists to remember this: journalism is not PR. We do not, and should not, report as a way to protect those with power or to protect the university’s image. We serve the Tufts community, first and foremost, and owe them accurate and informed reporting. We work to make space for those with less power to share their truths because, while the truths of the powerful may be loudest, that does not mean they are fair or right. Strong, ethical journalism has been, and continues to be, a crucial way of holding the powerful accountable. I believe Tufts can do better, be better.
I’m a bit more jaded, a bit more tired now than I was as a wide-eyed freshman, entering college with an ache to write and a desire for community—but I still believe in the power of the written word. I still believe the stories we tell matter. Student journalism matters, this magazine matters, your voice matters.
A final moment of vulnerability: I have cherished my time at Tufts and with the Observer, truly and deeply—not because of the pristine version of Tufts’ reputation that is marketed to incoming students, but rather in spite of it. It is the people that have made Tufts meaningful to me: the entire Observer staff, who pour so much into this magazine time and time again, who inspire me constantly; the professors who have shaped my views of world; Amanda, Grace, Ennis, Mark, Anthony, and every friend who has made my life beautiful these past four years. I find meaning and comfort in the sunrises I’ve watched with Amanda, Juanita, Anna, and Angela; in the knowledge that Juanita will carry on the legacy of this magazine; in the way I’ve started and ended this journey with Amanda by my side.
The Observer has been such a gift to me, something that has defined every semester of my college experience. I don’t know what it means to say goodbye to this magazine. It is a vulnerable sensation, feeling the end of this time creeping so close—yet it is also a beginning. There are more stories to tell, more voices to be heard.
I look forward to reading them all.
With love and appreciation,