As your campus’s student newspaper, we feel it is our duty to keep you informed about the happenings on campus. That often entails correcting misconceptions and bringing the truth to light.
On March 23, the Tower — a conservative publication run by Trinity students that we reported on earlier this year — published an article detailing President Trump’s executive order on free speech on college campuses. The article mainly focused on how a Trinity student, Maddie D’Iorio, was invited to attend the signing of the executive order.
The article, written by the Tower’s editor-in-chief Luke Ayers, stated that D’Iorio was invited to the White House after being fired from her position as an opinion columnist at the Trinitonian. Ayers goes on to write how D’Iorio was selected by alumnus Manfred Wendt to attend the event because the White House was “searching for students who were involved in instances of liberal bias or had their speech taken away.” Wendt also said the following: “Maddie was invited to the executive order signing because she was fired from the Trinitonian due to her position as a part of a conservative publication in addition to her duties with the campus newspaper.”
We want to clear up a few errors that were published in this article.
The Trinitonian does not discriminate or “take away speech” based on viewpoint. We welcome all perspectives, especially those that represent minority groups on campus that are not often heard. We edit our opinion columns for basics like grammar and style, as well as to ensure there aren’t any unsubstantiated claims and arguments that can’t be supported by clear facts. We don’t, however, edit for arguments or perspectives. We do the same for our other sections to make sure that both our writing and the statements made by the people we interview are up to the standard of the Society of Professional Journalists’s Code of Ethics.
The decision to fire D’Iorio was not an issue of free speech but instead — as we told Ayers — one of conflict of interest. D’Iorio is deputy editor of the Tower and therefore makes decisions for the publication. Just as we would not hire someone who is a decision-making editor at another student publication, such as the Contemporary, we cannot employ someone who is a decision-making editor at the Tower.
We expressed to D’Iorio at the time that we appreciate the conservative perspective that she offers and strongly encouraged her to write in to us as a guest columnist. We emphasized that the decision was not related to her content she produced for the Trinitonian or the fact that the Tower is a conservative publication.
Clearing up misconceptions like this is important to us because we want to make sure our mission and goals are understood for our community. We go to great lengths to prevent bias and conflicts of interest. We strive to accurately reflect the campus climate and are aware that our staff doesn’t represent as many diverse backgrounds as it should. It is something we’re always actively working on improving.
If you’re curious about the Tower, we invite you to read the reporting we’ve done on them in past weeks. You can also check out Ben Gonzalez’s column in the opinion section.