By Sam Arciprete, Chief Opinions Editor
The Editorial Board of The Crusader partnered with the SGA a few weeks ago to host a fishbowl event to discuss a potential name change to the newspaper. This came after a faculty petition was signed by several dozen faculty members and published in the paper a few weeks prior. The faculty members expressed concern about our newspaper sharing the same name as a KKK newspaper. They said that in light of the recent political and social climate they saw it necessary for the student body to reevaluate what the name of the newspaper means and whether or not it needs to be changed.
There has been a lot of misinformation about why we have chosen to spark this debate at this current moment. It was not because we were being confused in any way with the KKK newspaper, it was not that we wanted to influence the College to change the mascot, and, no, it has absolutely nothing to do with President Trump. The main thing that was most striking for me was that a KKK newspaper, that could name themselves anything in the world, chose The Crusader as an appropriate name. They believe that, in a publication littered with white supremacy and hateful speech, it is most aptly named The Crusader because that in some way embodies what they believe. That fact alone would make you reconsider the name. This isn’t an issue of left vs. right, Republican vs. Democrat, or liberal vs. conservative. These are white supremacists spreading hate and disenfranchising minorities.
We, as a student publication, have no affiliation or obligation to the mascot of the school. What we do have an obligation to, however, is the student body. If the name of the newspaper is somehow disenfranchising or alienating sections of students on campus, as a KKK newspaper would, then we have a responsibility to change the name to something that is inclusive of all students here on The Hill. The historical aspect of changing the name seems secondary in my mind if there are students on campus that feel marginalized by the name of their newspaper. There very well might not be a single student that finds the name offensive and doesn’t see the connection between the name of our newspaper and whatever drew the KKK to the name The Crusader. But if even one student has a problem with the name of the newspaper, we have an obligation to hear the concerns and engage in a thoughtful discussion on the issue.
The potential name change has generated a lot of buzz in the news. We’ve been had articles written about the paper in anything from The New York Post to the Washington Times and many publications between. This is great. I love the coverage this is getting because this is no small decision and we want everyone to be aware of our motivations behind considering the change, as well as reaching alumni who obviously have an interest in the name of the newspaper.
While all this discussion has been encouraging, it is incredibly discouraging how few students have actually engaged in this discussion. There doesn’t seem to be any buzz around campus, not many students came to the fishbowl discussion, and we have received ZERO op-ed articles from students engaging on this topic. My initial reaction to this was that, because the student body was so apathetic to the name of the newspaper, we should just change it to whatever we want and we will face no pushback from students. But then I tried to spin this apathy as a positive. The students have had very little engagement on this issue is because the name of the newspaper really doesn’t matter. The Crusader would still be effective at representing the happenings on the Hill and the pulse of the student body if it operated under a different name.
I challenge students that feel passionately one way or another on the issue to please speak up. I would hate to be forced to keep the name of the newspaper if there was a silent growing resentment towards it and vice versa. The only way we can make the correct decision is if we hear a diverse group of student opinions and actually engage in some discussion on this issue. This issue matters to me and should matter to you too. So it goes.
photo courtesy: Google Images