An apology to the Saint Martin’s Community

Katherine Pecora, Managing Editor


To my professors and classmates, I have to apologize for the insensitive and offensive material published on the back page of our last issue. I have had professors and classmates alike confront me about why this was put into a paper who’s goal it is to contribute to the building of a strong community.

There is such thing as pushing the envelope when it comes to journalism but, the line is drawn when the material is racist, sexist or offensive. In a country currently suffering from an opioid epidemic this “joke” is far from that. It disregards the real suffering that people are going through and painting it as a “joke” perpetuates a brutal stereotype.

I have been called sensitive I have told I’m making a bigger deal out of this than it needs to be but I argue that if we don’t do this to these so called “jokes” the stereotypes will continue and will not be broken. Don’t be afraid to be the person that takes issue with something. Yes, it may be uncomfortable and it may be hard but, knowing that you stood up for what you believe in is gratifying feeling.  

This is not what Saint Martin’s University stands for. As a Benedictine institution we are asked, “To work toward a just order in our immediate environment and in the larger society.” We believe in a sense of community and opening our arms to people from all spheres of the world, people from different socioeconomic backgrounds, different races and different sexual orientation. “To offer warmth, acceptance and joy in welcoming others.” This is what we should be doing in a school paper. This institution deserves writing that pushes the billet but also addresses real issues that our school faces such as sexism, racism and intolerance.

Changing issues such as this takes an awareness of our own privilege and prejudice. We all have them. The solution is learning to challenge them, walk a mile in someone else’s shoes before we go back to our own and see the challenges those around us may face. Another component is being able to admit when we are wrong and work to learn from it. This is what a college education is meant to do. We are meant to push our understanding. It will be uncomfortable, it will probably hurt but it will make you a better human being.

I am able to articulate on issues such as this thanks to the classes I have taken here at SMU. Thanks to professors such as Dr. Sapra, Professor Keri Graham and Dr. Walker. They have pushed me to think outside of my norm and to question why I think what I think. So, take a class that is out of your norm. We owe it to our classmates whom may be different from us to try to step out of what we know to recognize these issues.

So, as a member of the community of Saint Martins I urge you to push your comfort zone. It is probably going to be tough, it is not going to happen overnight. But, there are people here that will help you.


  • This is totally super uncool. It used to be the newspaper had a teacher who was a advisor responsible for making sure students didn’t use the newspaper for hate speech. Who is the student adviser, does he have tenure and does he still answer to the Provost or Chair or something? Has he been disciplined for this, or are students getting all the blame? Can we have a Belltower story about the apparent Republican politics of the newspapers advisor?

    • Pat — This is the adviser of the Belltower, Julie Yamamoto, responding to your comment. Thanks for your feedback and for reading the Belltower. We appreciate all our readers and their responses, as long as they are reasonable. In your comment, it’s not clear if you think it was the apology that was “totally super uncool” or the event that precipitated the apology. In any case, you should know that I am a faculty as well as a staff member here at SMU and have been the adviser since the Belltower was resurrected in its current version in 2008. You should also know that review by the adviser or anyone other than the Belltower staff itself prior to publication is a violation of freedom of the press and the code of ethics of the Society for Professional Journalists, whose standards we follow. Thus, my political stance has no bearing on the content of the newspaper. All topics are chosen, written, and edited by student staff members. As the editor-in-chief’s statement, which was printed below the apology, indicates, we received a variety of responses to the jokes and those responses covered quite a range of opinions. Though some considered some of the jokes hate speech, many did not. As the editor commented, humor is a tricky thing. The staff of the Belltower has responded appropriately to the feedback we received after discussions with many people, including administrators, faculty, staff, and students.

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