Earlier on in this semester it came to our attention that some students who have contributed articles to The Drew Acorn have received messages that can only be described as hate mail. Because of the gravity of this issue, we were not able to address the situation sooner in order to avoid interfering with Title IX Office confidentiality and privacy policies and Public Safety’s procedures, but we think it is important to talk about this before the semester ends.
While we strongly encourage our readers to provide feedback and comments on any articles that we publish, this should be done in a respectful manner either by submitting a letter to the Editor-in-Chief, leaving a comment on our website, or tagging us in any of our social media accounts. However, some people hand-picked names from Acorn articles and decided to mail their concerns to the writers themselves, leaving old-fashioned letters on their P.O. boxes. They responded and criticized the writers’ political views in one case, and in a much more alarming one, they blatantly attacked someone’s sexual orientation. In some cases, the recipients of these messages were not involved directly with the Acorn in any way, but their names were mentioned in News and/or Student Life and Arts articles.
It was in no way our intention to serve as a tool for people to target their hatred and biases toward members of the Drew community, and we are terribly saddened that such injustice took place on our campus. The mission of our newspaper, as it was established in The Acorn’s first issue in November 1928, is “to serve Drew in every way a paper can serve a university.” We aim to provide students, staff and faculty with a safe space to share their opinions and concerns: but mostly, we seek to create a relationship of trust between our paper, our writers and our readers, and we are sorry if being on the receiving end of these messages has disrupted the trust you’ve placed in us.
It was thanks to the students that placed reports and to the effective actions taken by the Title IX office that they were able to take action to prevent the recurrence of additional mail, and we sincerely hope that it will never happen again. We strongly encourage anyone that has any information and would like to report a similar message to contact Emily Ralph, our Title IX/EEO/AA Officer , at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 973-408- 3635. But mostly, we would like to remind our readers that we take our responsibilities seriously here at the newsroom, and that a few nasty letters will not stop us from doing or job.