To the Editor:
On Monday night, I spoke at the faculty meeting about my experiences as an Asian girl at _The Phillipian_. I talked about struggling to be heard in a place that, for the first two-and-a-half years I was there, had almost always been led by white, male voices. That struggle, however, represents just a fraction of what has been, for me, the best part of Andover: working on a free student press.
I have loved _The Phillipian_ more than anything else here. I have learned more from it than from any class. I have watched movements like Divest Andover, Feminism is Equality and More Than Just a Number assert themselves in campus-wide discussion through the Commentary pages. I have written and edited stories and editorials on gender inequality, sexual education, racism, socioeconomic class and more. I have learned to speak up, to ask hard questions about the way this school operates, to chase the stories that affect myself and those I care about and to make careful, thoughtful decisions. I have made mistakes, but I have learned how to own up to and fix them. I have learned the incredible power and tremendous responsibility of making a newspaper because my fellow editors and I were allowed to do so on our own.
I believe that a free student press is imperative and empowering in conversations like the one we are currently having. On an ideal campus, harmful and misinformed opinions would never make it into article form. But they do and they have because students genuinely believe them and regularly express them to other students when the faculty are not around, as my fellow speakers explained on Monday night. _The Phillipian_ has proven itself instrumental in sparking change by exposing and forcing us to confront this ignorance in a safe, intelligent manner through well-edited, substantiated Commentary and News articles.
This is not to say _The Phillipian_ does not make mistakes. The blackface cartoon published several weeks ago was unacceptable, the result of ignorance on behalf of _The Phillipian_ board and the community as a whole. The board apologized swiftly and has taken steps to educate itself. _The Phillipian _is getting better every term; more females and students of color are added to the masthead. There are already more writers of color than I ever knew as an associate. That the current board has come so far from the newsroom I knew as an underclassman is testament to the fact that the exclusive culture of whiteness and maleness is changing already. The free press is essential to maintaining this upward trend.
Janine Ko ’14
Editor’s Note: Janine Ko is the former Executive Editor of _The Phillipian_ CXXXVI.