In regards to the 'Greek Issue'

Due to the tremendous amount of response we received from our Sept. 14 Greek Issue’s Main Point, we thought it was only appropriate as an editorial board to address some concerns.

First, it is important to understand what the Main Point is. The Main Point is the opinion of the newspaper’s editorial board. Columns, unlike articles, are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the full University Star staff, Texas State University Student Media, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication or Texas State.

The Main Point is a concerted effort by the entire 10-person editorial board at the University Star. It is an editorial, which is meant to be biased and opinionated—not neutral and impartial. According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of an editorial is “a newspaper or magazine article that gives the opinions of the editors or publishers; also an expression of opinion that resembles such article.”

The entire premise of an editorial like the Main Point is for us to take a stance on something as a publication. The newspaper is not a PR firm for Texas State, nor is it the University Star’s job to focus specifically on positive, inoffensive material. It is not the editorial board’s responsibility to praise organizations and events just because they are part of Texas State. After all, Texas State officials do not govern over what the University Star publishes.

The University Star is an independently student-run and operated newspaper. We have complete First Amendment freedoms—just as any other publication—to print columns and articles with impunity, so long as they are not libelous. Texas State cannot curb the University Star’s speech—no matter how seemingly unpopular or offensive—because they do not sign off on what is or is not printed in the campus newspaper.  

Journalism is known as the Fourth Estate. It is meant to balance and check institutions in power—this is the main reason the newspaper is a separate, independent entity from university. If the university controlled us, the newspaper would consist of nothing but press releases and free PR for organizations and events in and around campus.

Unfortunately, there is no opinion that exists without offending someone. As an editorial board we may have offended some students at Texas State, but as an editorial piece the Main Point is meant to elicit response and emotion—which it did.

All subjective ideas lend themselves to critique, offense and partiality. We thank the students for exercising their First Amendment rights to let us know how they felt, just as we used ours to express topical opinions and viewpoints.

There were also some issues with opinions stated in the Main Point, as some readers found them inaccurate or unfounded. While not all opinions have to be backed up or accurate, we think it is important to address a particular one—diversity.

Many students took to Twitter Sept. 14 and the days following to express just how diverse Panhellenic sororities and fraternities part of the Interfraternity Council are, citing pictures with a few non-white people as proof. However, the statistics do not back this up. While there is no official record of the racial and ethnic make-up of Greek organizations, there have been studies done on them.

For example, according to a study conducted by Mississippi State University on Greek organizations across the country, white Greek letter organizations promote and perpetuate ethnocentric, exclusionary and prejudiced practices by the way they are structured and activities meant to maintain homogeneity. The in-depth research even found that when these white Greek organizations do enlist non-white members to join, they are often met with subtle forms of stigmatization from other historically and perpetually white fraternities and sororities who see the addition of a non-white person as unideal.

While our stereotype of white and blonde people was meant in jest, it was not taken that way. However, it was not without reason the comment was made. The research indicates that ethnocentrism and uniformity is a staple of the Greek community, for whatever reason.

While it is important to focus on the philanthropy of Greek organizations, sometimes certain scandals and incidences of bigotry and ignorance can eclipse the good of an organization. Frankly, that has happened one too many times with Greek organizations across campuses nationwide. While the stereotypes are not fair, they are an unfortunate part of Greek identity.   

Newspapers are not meant to uplift people, though that is an occasional and incidental consequence. Newspapers are meant to inform, educate and express information and views. If students feel like they have an opinion that can reshape discourse and exercise an otherwise unexpressed outlook, they should feel free to apply to work at the University Star or send in a letter to the editor, though we exercise the right to run and not run letters as we see fit.