Photo by Joe Nguyen/AsiaXpress.com
Student leaders, administrative officials
and members of The Campus Press listen
to a member of the audience during the open forum
regarding Max Karson's column Feb. 28 at the CU-Boulder
Student leaders want 'Campus Press'
editor, adviser out
Chancellor pledges to assemble committees, evaluate publication
during open forum
AsiaXpress.com staff reports
Feb. 28, 2008
BOULDER – CU-Boulder student leaders called for
the replacement of The Campus Press Editor-in-Chief
Cassie Hewlings and adviser Amy Herdy during an open forum
with the university’s administration Feb. 27 in
the school’s chemistry building.
Chancellor G.P. "Bud"
Peterson made three pledges to student leaders regarding
their demands at the open forum
• To assemble a group, which includes students,
to research if Max Karson's column violated Title
VI of the Civil Rights Act, which prevents discrimination
from any program or activity that receives federal
• To assemble a group, which includes students,
to look at the status of promises made two years
ago after another incident.
• To have members of the school of journalism
and mass communication evaluate the structure and
practices of The Campus Press. Their recommendations
will be presented and discussed with a group created
by the UCSU.
gallery for Feb. 28 events
• CU-Boulder students
rally against hate
community search for solution
• CU says sorry
This comes after Assistant Opinions Editor Max Karson's
column, "If it's war the Asians want..." enraged
many students and community members who say it is racist
and threatening to people of Asian descent. A diverse
crowd of approximately 250 people attended the two-hour
meeting where selected individuals relayed their concerns
and demands to the editors of The Campus Press
and the administration.
“Good journalism sometimes does push boundaries
and should try to create dialogue in the community,”
said Amie Ha, a representative from the Vietnamese Student
Association at Boulder. “However, since it is such
a powerful medium in the community, that power must be
tempered with ethics.”
Others added that this wasn't an isolated incident –
an opinion piece that ran a week prior by staff writer
Lauren E. Geary titled, "No hablo ingles," was
said to be derogatory to the Hispanic population.
“The fact that these two racist articles were both
written by staff members shows a systemic culture of racism
and bigotry within the leadership of the current Campus
Press,” CU-Boulder senior David Chiu said.
John Ali Sharza, the University of Colorado Student Union
director of diversity affairs, said that the article was
just the latest incident involving discrimination to occur
"It was not a piece of satire as The Campus
Press editors have defensively stated," Sharza
said. "It is not a form of freedom of speech, but
rather just one of the many issues of the countless acts
of institutional racism and discrimination toward women,
toward ethnic minorities and toward the community of CU
as a whole that exists today."
Herdy agreed with the students, saying that the larger
issue is that there is a group of students who feel marginalized
"I told The Campus Press students that
if we're failing – and clearly we are," she
said, " ... we are failing because we are not representing
these voices of these students."
Hewlings said that she wants to work with the other students
in finding a solution.
"My firm belief is not to work separately to the
same, goal, it shouldn't be an us-versus-them mentality
that gets fostered," she said. " ... I firmly
believe that a better solution is always found by the
most inclusionary methods."
After the meeting, Hewlings said that The Campus
Press is working on plans to hold a diversity forum
sometime next week.
Chancellor G.P. "Bud" Peterson said that while
he couldn't answer all of the students' demands that night,
he could pledge to some. He said he would assemble a group
– which will include students – to work with
the school's chief legal council to examine if there has
been a violation to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.
He would create another group to review the progress of
promises made two years ago from another incident. And
he would have Paul Voakes, dean of CU's school of journalism
and mass communication, and his colleagues work to evaluate
the current structure of The Campus Press, present
their recommendations and meet with a student group to
discuss their findings.
"I'd like to ... continue to work with UCSU ...
to identify ways to continue this discussion and work
toward a community that is more inclusive, more welcoming
and one that is, above all else, safe," he said.
Voakes said that he met with members of the journalism
faculty prior to the meeting.
"The entire faculty and I were horrified when we
saw the Karson column because this is the antithesis of
what we're trying to teach in our school," he said.
"And now we, the faculty and I, take responsibility
for the offense that The Campus Press obviously
Voakes added that the majority of their meeting was spent
"working on immediate, concrete measures" to
makes sure that this does not happen again.
For Hewlings, the recent events have already proven to
be a big lesson.
"It was a mistake for me to not be able to see how
more people would take this and for that I am so very
sorry," she said. "That was very irresponsible
"And I can only say that I've learned more in the
past week than I have my whole 22 years of life."
And, perhaps, more lessons will come from this.
"I hope people learn accountability and, ultimately,
forgiveness," Ha said.