Letters to the Editor

Letter To The Editor: 040/07/2017

To the Editor:

Last week, The Phillipian published an infographic in “The Eighth Page” about the 240th admitted class. The infographic satirically polled the newly admitted girls as 20 percent “Hot” and 80 percent “Seem like really nice people.”

These are the students who received Andover acceptance letters telling them, “Throughout history, young men and women from all over this country and the world have found on this campus their intellectual inspiration and moral compass.” These are the students that hold the future of Andover, and yet, The Phillipian published a joke that directly targeted them — the most vulnerable and impressionable members of our community.

Spring revisits are a time when current Andover students are supposed to welcome new admits and give them a peek into what campus life is like. It raises a red flag to accepted students when student representatives speak of how Andover is a “home away from home,” but conversely, The Phillipian, which prides itself in being “the written voice of the school,” reduces girls to their physical appearance. This incident reflects a divide between how the school is represented externally when students want admits to #sayyestoandover, and how Andover is represented internally when our student-run newspaper jokes about the attractiveness of newly accepted students.

Furthermore, The Phillipian’s official apology letter failed to include what the joke was, offer an explanation as to why the joke was “offensive and inappropriate,” and explain how the joke managed to pass through the paper’s thorough editorial process. The concise and polished manner in which this apology letter was written implied that it served to ensure that the mistake blew over as quickly and smoothly as possible. We believe that The Phillipian board should have made more efforts to explain and discuss the harmful connotations of the publication and prevent such mistakes from happening in the future.

Andover cannot claim to be a safe home for students when an entire line of editors of the school’s most prominent publication allowed for or overlooked the sexualization of eighth grade girls making a decision about the future of their education. Furthermore, as a self-proclaimed “window into the Andover community,” The Phillipian must be more wary of the weight of its words, and the line between funny and offensive. A joke that some may find funny may not be funny to those whom the joke targets. Moreover, the “What are the Least Popular Applicant Names?” section of “The Eighth Page” targeted gender nonconforming individuals and those with seemingly South Asian names. However, as we are not part of the aforementioned minorities, we do not feel that we have the authority to speak on their behalf.

We acknowledge that this publication does not encompass the beliefs of Andover students or members of The Phillipian, and we sincerely apologize to any students who felt attacked by this letter. Our aim is not to blame any one person, but rather to open discussion about this issue and how the nature of Andover’s community compares to the Andover we present to newly admitted students.

Sincerely,

Ava Stills ’19

Allison Zhu ’19

Signatories:

Malika Dia ’17

Madison Pettaway ’17

Zoe Sottile ’17

Katie Hartzell ’18

Makenna Marshall ’18

Claudia Meng ’18

Emily Ndiokho ’18

Larson Tolo ’18

Amiri Tulloch ’18

Adrienne Zhang ’18

Keely Aouga ’19

Angel Cleare ’19

Stella Kotzabasakis ’19

Anna Lopez ’19

Sydney Mercado ’19

Sarika Rao ’19

Henry Rogers ’19

Zoë Sylvester-Chin ’19

Jamille Taveras ’19

Sahil Tekchandani ’19

Patricia Thompson ’19

Lindsey Chan ’20

Misah Edwards ’20

Junah Jang ’20

Senna Hahn ’20

Jasmine Harris ’20

Kaitlin Lim ’20

Ishaan Mundra ’20

Prem Prabhakar ’20

Chioma Ugwonali ’20

Apr 7, 2017