It is Wednesday, Oct. 27, 2004, and the Tuesday edition of The Hoya, Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record, has been out for a day.

The Fire This Time, Georgetown’s minority student newsmagazine, has been out since last Friday, Oct. 22.

Thousands have already read The Hoya and maybe 300 hundred people have read The Fire. Does that mean The Fire does not deserve to be in press?

A Hoya columnist, Josh Zumbrun, seems to feel that it does not (“Separation Frustrates Diversity,” The Hoya, Oct. 26, 2004, A3). The Fire, he states, embodies the type of separatism that “Brown v. Board of Education was trying to end.” That students’ call for an “African-American studies major distinct from the extremely well-respected American Studies program” is somehow wrong.

He mockingly implies that The Fire is hypocritical in nature because of what it is in spite of what it advocates.

I cannot, however, even attempt to address the many unfocused points of his viewpoint article, so I will pick a few of my own disjointed points to address in aims to make it clear that a lack of understanding and respect is what most frustrates diversity.

These are just a few points raised that lie within the context of Mr. Zumbrun’s viewpoint that speak directly to why The Fire is necessary in a majority campus setting such as Georgetown’s.

I forwarded a link to Mr. Zumbrun’s Sept. 28, 2004, viewpoint article, “A Little Bit of History Repeating” (The Hoya, A3) to the entire Black Student Alliance just this past week.

This and all article links from The Hoya were then pasted within the CMEA Weekly Drum mailing for all students of color to view, as they related to the progress and history of hate and bias reporting.

I did not give my opinions on the articles I linked. They served merely to demonstrate what the “Newspaper of Record” had to and has to say about the gains of “minorities.” That article cited that the UNITY Coalition, which aligned racial, religious and ethnic minorities, faded away with good reason after the university made some changes.

I do not agree, because as a black woman attending Georgetown University, I am aware of the many subcommittees, underground groups and new organizations and even publications that began on the Hilltop before, during and after the press received by the UNITY Coalition.

Did Mr. Zumbrun bother to address why The Fire was started in his latest viewpoint that attacked its need? Probably not.

The Fire was first published in spring of 2000 as a direct result of the campus’ latest, not-so-greatest happenings. It became as its current co-Editor in Chief Anthony Jones states in his Fall Edition editorial – “an expression of activism, dialogue, and a voice for many students of color on campus.”

Furthermore, Jones states, “[The Fire] represents the concerns, views and issues of the community of students of color, while also recording the struggles, successes and accomplishments of the community.”

Maybe The Hoya would like to take charge of this challenge.

As a Black House resident and former features editor for The Fire, I know that The Hoya has not been willing to do so in the past.

Please then, take it as a compliment that The Hoya does not attempt to cover every story, that the Latino Welcome Dinner is not in the news section but something for the entertainment section, and that certain articles will never be published within The Hoya because they are not important to its “readership.”

I am a Georgetown student. I read from near each edition of The Fire, The Voice, The Hoya, The Independent, The Academy, and so many more of our campus publications. If I could have majored in journalism here, I probably would have.

So, what interests me most is that journalism is supposed to be unbiased. Yet it cannot be. It will always be privy to the subjective interpretations of the one who attempts his or her best to appear objective. The Hoya is biased. The Fire is biased.

So why does Mr. Zumbrun “not feel entirely comfortable reading The Fire?” Maybe it is because the opinions and reflections of Georgetown students of color are different from his.

Please read them for that. Understand the need for these opinions to be written and read. Respect that, and then go sign up for “Introduction to African American Studies” to learn more about why African American Studies should be a major, and then Chicano Studies, Asian-American Studies and more.

Then in the spring write a viewpoint pertaining to how much of the information you learned and processed in that class was ever touched upon in any of your other classes – American Studies or otherwise.

I am a minor in the program, and I have yet to see you at any of its lectures or within in any the cross-listed courses I enrolled in, some of which could count toward an American Studies major.

As your peer Mr. Zumbrun, I also think that it is a shame that the chair of the Board of Directors for “Georgetown’s Newspaper of Record” does not understand how behind with the times this university is as an academic institution. Or that he does not recognize students of color’s use of the metaphor in their published Fire articles.

If Georgetown University prides itself upon diversity on all accounts, then it must have policies, procedures and academic programs that reflect its service to the interest of its `diverse’ student body.

I, for one, would like to applaud myself and my fellow students of color who must separate themselves in order to fight daily for what this university owes us – understanding and respect.

Write a viewpoint on that.

It will just take a bit more research or maybe a recruitment effort.

Erin Marie Meadors is a senior in the College.

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