STAFF EDITORIAL: Writing History in Real Time

During these defining moments in time, The Hustler is dedicated to searching for unheard perspectives and providing factual, relevant news coverage.

Kirkland+Hall+houses+a+large+portion+of+Vanderbilt%27s+administration.

Hunter Long

Kirkland Hall houses a large portion of Vanderbilt's administration.

Editorial Board

Over the course of the summer, we—as a university, as a country and as a generation—have been wrestling with multiple decade-defining crises. These past five months have proven to be a moment of reckoning as we try to navigate our national history of racial injustice and police brutality and the ongoing pandemic. 

The editorial staff members of The Hustler have been appalled and saddened by the needless deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and the countless other brutalities and abuses against Black people in America. We are saddened by the knowledge that these undercurrents of inequality exist on our campus—we know because we’ve covered it.  

This summer, we have been publishing stories centered around the Black Lives Matter protests, the movement to abolish Greek Life, the protests at the People’s Plaza and other issues plaguing our school and city. As these stories keep unfolding, we want to continue our diligent coverage, as our college experience mirrors the climate of our country.

We have also seen how information, or lack thereof, and a strong, independent press can have an immediate impact on our lives. Last spring, we were attending in-person classes without masks, gathering with more than 10 friends and studying abroad. After all of the instability resulting from our March moves back home, we spent months wondering if we would be able to do the one thing we, as college students, do: physically go to school.

If we have learned one thing during this “unprecedented time,” it’s that we all need to participate in rebuilding a culture of civic and community responsibility in the United States.  

A heated election year, 2016 marked the end of the complacency of our generation. Since then, and especially this year, we have seen Vanderbilt students engage and advocate for their beliefs in inspiring ways. As such, we want to hear your voices, and we are steadfast in our commitment to amplify your opinions and provide a platform for your stories. We aim to complete this goal in every section of our newspaper.

However, we also acknowledge that even in our news coverage, unconscious biases can color our reporting. We encourage you, as the Vanderbilt community, to hold us accountable when you see instances of bias so The Hustler can be as accurate and fair as possible. 

With this mission at heart, we recognize there are voices that remain unheard on our own campus. We’ll do our best to reach out and look for these ignored perspectives, but we can’t promise perfection. The Hustler Editorial Staff, although a diverse group, is only cognizant of so many issues, so we need help in broadening the scope of our publication and in scrutinizing that which we do publish so that we can be as truthful as possible. 

This is where we need the help of you, our varied readers. Reach out to us. Tell us your stories, and we’ll do our best to present them as authentically as we can. Our goal is to hold up a mirror to our community and reflect the kaleidoscopic array of perspectives that make Vanderbilt such a vibrant institution. In doing so, we will become strengthened as a news source and hope to play a small role in the building of an equitable, responsible and active campus and country.