Introducing The Hatchet’s Volume 118 editorial board

By May 10, 2021 12:23 AM

It’s been quite a year. A lot has happened at GW, in the District and to college students across the globe, and when big things happen that affect students, the editorial board tries to make sense of it all and spark discussion.

In the past year, we’ve demanded the resignation of University President Thomas LeBlanc. We’ve recapped the good, the bad and the ugly of GW’s 200-year history. We called on GW to institute a vaccine mandate months before that decision was made. And we’ve endorsed candidates for the Student Association’s top jobs. Each week, we inform the community, challenge our readers’ preconceptions and advocate for the well-being of students.

As the new editorial board takes over, we wanted to take this opportunity to explain our role on The Hatchet and to introduce this volume’s members.

Every week, the editorial board meets to discuss an issue or event relevant to GW students, D.C. or higher education. Sometimes, opinions editor Andrew Sugrue and contributing opinions editor Shreeya Aranake will choose the topic beforehand. Other times the full group will come to an agreement on what topic to address. Through discussion and debate, the editorial board hammers out a consensus view on the topic at hand. Sugrue and Aranake then co-write the weekly staff editorial reflecting that view, and it becomes the official stance of the paper.

We do not operate using any hard-and-fast editorial philosophy, but there are a few common threads that run through most of what we write. We tend to advocate strongly for policies and decisions that would improve students’ experiences at GW, like extending the Pass/No Pass policy and prioritizing students in the allocation of COVID-19 relief funds. We do not shy away from criticizing administrators, many of whom regularly read the Hatchet. We are, after all, students first. We aim to inform our readers, offer a nuanced perspective based on the collection of our own unique experiences and to stand up for what will make students’ lives better.

This volume’s editorial board consists of seven Hatchet staff members. In convening this year’s editorial board, Sugrue and Aranake aimed to assemble a group of diverse, experienced and insightful editors to represent the paper.

Here is a little bit about the people who will create the official stance of The Hatchet this coming academic year:

Andrew Sugrue, a rising senior from New York majoring in political communication and political science, is the opinions editor. He runs the editorial board’s weekly meeting and co-writes the staff editorial. His main areas of interest include voting rights, student political engagement and the governmental response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shreeya Aranake, a rising senior from California majoring in history, is the contributing opinions editor. She co-writes the staff editorial and helps guide the weekly discussion. She brings a wide range of interests and passions to the table but is particularly focused on racial and gender equity at GW and environmental and sustainability policy.

Anna Boone, a rising senior from Florida majoring in journalism and mass communication, is the culture editor. She is a strong believer in the power of journalism as a force for social good and cares especially about mental health advocacy, sexual assault prevention and drug decriminalization.

Nuria Diaz, a rising sophomore from Puerto Rico majoring in journalism and mass communication, is the contributing sports editor. As someone who has lived both in the mainland United States and in Puerto Rico, she brings a unique perspective on issues of equity, government corruption and colonialism.

Jaden DiMauro, a rising sophomore from Connecticut majoring in English, is the copy editor. Coming from a household with two moms, he is deeply passionate about LGBTQ rights and is also interested in issues like sustainability and ethical consumption.

Karina Ochoa Berkley, a rising junior from California majoring in political science and philosophy, is the incoming assistant copy editor. She is a strong advocate for sustainability policies at GW, racial justice measures and support for survivors of sexual assault.

Grace Miller, a rising sophomore from Virginia majoring in English, is the design editor. She is deeply passionate about environmentalism, gender equity and how the University should use its funding to better support students.

Lia DeGroot, the editor in chief, sits in on discussions and edits the weekly staff editorial but does not give her opinion on the topics discussed by the editorial board. No member of the news section sits on the editorial board, and there is a strict divide between the newsroom and the editorial board. Additionally, if a conflict of interest ever arises for a member of our editorial board – like belonging to a student organization that we’re writing about – then they will recuse themselves from that piece.

Our editorial board encompasses a wide range of identities and experiences, but we are also cognizant that we do not necessarily represent every single background or point of view of the student body. We will not shy away from controversy or voicing an unpopular opinion – but if we call it wrong, we’ll fix it. Part of honestly and thoughtfully weighing in on important issues is also knowing when past positions need to be updated or changed based on new information. Last year, as protests over the police murder of George Floyd sparked a renewed national conversation about racial justice, we officially retracted a previous editorial board’s stance that the GW Police Department should hire armed police officers. Earlier this year, after then-Student Association President Howard Brookins was accused of sexual misconduct, we officially rescinded our prior endorsement and demanded that he resign from his post. When we get it wrong, we’ll make it right, and if we need to change our view based on new facts or events, we’ll do that too.

Fundamentally, our goals are to advocate for students and to make our readers think hard about the issues our community is facing at any given moment. We do not ask that you automatically adopt the stances we hold just because we hold them. Rather, we aim to challenge our readers’ priors and present fresh perspectives for your consideration. We invite disagreement and productive dialogue.

If you strongly disagree with a position we stake out in a staff editorial, we encourage you to write a letter to the editor. If you want to offer a different perspective on something we cover based on your own experience or expertise, we would be thrilled to consider an op-ed submission from you.

Volume 118’s editorial board is looking forward to the year to come, and we hope you can count on us for perspectives that challenge your preconceptions, introduce new points of view and stick up for students.

The editorial board consists of Hatchet staff members and operates separately from the newsroom. This week’s staff editorial was written by opinions editor Andrew Sugrue and contributing opinions editor Shreeya Aranake, based on discussions with culture editor Anna Boone, contributing sports editor Nuria Diaz, design editor Grace Miller, copy editor Jaden DiMauro and incoming assistant copy editor Karina Ochoa Berkley.

This article appeared in the May 10, 2021 issue of the Hatchet.

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