Dear readers of The Miscellany News,
We would like to take this space to recognize the feelings of hurt, frustration, disappointment and discomfort that the campus community has experienced as a result of the error we made on the front cover of our most recent issue.
Without question, this situation reflects many of our institutional flaws, including the privilege and lack of diversity present on our Editorial Board. We overlooked the mistake in multiple rounds of editing in which it should have been identified. This was an unacceptable transgression.
As we reflect on our severe error and strive toward transparency, we want to offer some explanation as to how such an insensitive oversight occurred during our publication process. We had reached out to a photographer for photos from the lecture given by Jamaica Kincaid on April 11, 2019. Of the photos we received, none of them featured Kincaid. As a result, the photo on the original cover, of Vice Chancellor of the University of Global Health Equity Dr. Agnes Binagwaho and President Elizabeth Bradley, was chosen to accompany the article. No Misc editors had attended the event, and the writer of the article was not present at the time of production. Simply put, our editors did not verify the identity of Dr. Binagwaho, and mistook her for Kincaid.
Dr. Binagwaho is a distinguished supporter of equity and global health advocacy; Kincaid is an incredibly accomplished novelist. We are very fortunate to have had both these women grace our campus to share their work and ideas with our student body. We are in the process of tracking down contacts and offering apologies to both women, and we have already reached out to President Bradley and the student who brought the error to her attention.
None of this excuses our offensive behavior—there is inherent racism to this error. And as such, we will actively strive for more stringent scrutiny of our publication moving forward.
We’re currently exploring potential ways in which we can be a more inclusive Editorial Board. Our editorial staff is dedicated to establishing outreach that encourages diverse voices to contribute to our publication in a multitude of ways. By opening up the possibility for people to submit various types of writing—as opposed to solely journalistic pieces—we hope to make the Misc accessible to a larger portion of the student body. Furthermore, we are immediately implementing a two-step photo verification process, wherein both the writer and the section editor must confirm the accuracy of all photos. These are only small practical steps; it will require many more ideas, and far more conversation, to create true systemic change.
We welcome any and all continued dialogue regarding this situation. For any student or reader who has been harmed as a consequence of our actions: We are very sorry to have let you down.
The Miscellany News