Letter to the editor

Katelyn DeBaun-Fee

Shortly after its publication, I read Dr. Carrie Buchanan’s farewell column as she departs her role as the faculty adviser to the Carroll News. As a proud CN alumna, I fervently typed a comment on the website, just to realize that my wordiness made my response better suited to a letter to the editor. 

First, I am glad to hear that the CN is dedicated to making its rhetoric more inclusive. Like many others, I was deeply upset and disturbed by the rhetoric of some columns in 2018-2019; they disparaged a number of communities on campus, many members of which already felt unsafe and underrepresented at the University. I hope that the CN editors continue to publish thought-provoking Op/Eds from a number of perspectives that come from a place of respect for those who may (or may not) differ from them.

Moving on, I worry about what losing Dr. B as an adviser, combined with the changes regarding tenured professors at the University, means for the future of the CN. Given that the University is private, they are not obligated to sponsor a student newspaper, and the CN has always had to operate somewhat mindfully of that. If the CN gets a faculty adviser without protections, it places them at risk of repercussions should the CN report factually about something that puts the University in a negative light. If the CN chooses not to publish these stories, it constitutes a failure to report a complete picture of what is happening at the University. If the CN moves forward without a faculty adviser, which robs students of the opportunity to be guided by an experienced professional. None of these outcomes are optimal.

Of everything that stood out in Dr. B’s column, the most chilling was her statement that she has been “forbidden” from advising the CN next year.  Although Dr. B was not the CN adviser while I was there (I had the privilege of having Bob Noll as a faculty adviser), she was perhaps my closest mentor on campus. I could stop by her office at any time to pick her brain and receive a seasoned perspective that I lacked. I always walked away from our conversations knowing that I had been respected as a student and as an individual. Even as an alumna, I know from experience that I can still reach out to her at any time and talk to her if I need. She cares deeply about her students, and John Carroll has been beyond fortunate to have her.

My final article as editor-in-chief at the CN was about University treatment of adjunct faculty; those I was able to interview put their jobs on the line to speak out against the poor treatment they received. I am beyond disappointed conditions at a Jesuit institution have gotten worse–both for those adjunct faculty members, and now for tenured faculty as well. University administration has an obligation to revisit what it means to be people for and with others, and reflect that in its treatment of its educators.

Katelyn DeBaun-Fee
Class of 2016
Former World News Editor and Editor-in-Chief of The Carroll News