Last spring semester, 19.4% of students on campus self-identified as people of color. This suggests our recruiting, classes, schools, and more, are predominantly white. In Montana, it’s easy to say the state’s overwhelmingly white population makes it difficult to diversify the University of Montana campus when, in reality, it should be a call to action. People of color go to school on this campus, and we at the Kaimin need to make sure they are represented in this paper.
This conversation is long overdue. The nationwide protests over the summer against police brutality, catalyzed by the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and others, show that. The latest phase of the Black Lives Matter movement has forced institutions across the country to take a step back and reevaluate how they do their jobs. We at the Kaimin are no exception. Here is our action plan to create change:
- We will be conducting a diversity audit of the Kaimin throughout the year, and we will publish our results. The audit will examine Kaimin coverage, including the demographics of our sources and staff, as compared to that of UM, going back to the 2017-2018 academic school year.
- We acknowledge that our editorial board is white, and racial representation is key to accurate coverage. For the first time, our Kaimin advisers are both people of color. Our staff diversity relies, somewhat, on the diversity of the UM School of Journalism. We will be working with our professors and the rest of the J-School to prioritize diversity in recruiting. We plan to reach out to rural high school journalism programs across the state, especially in Native American communities, to feature their students’ work on our website.
- As the independent student paper on campus, we have always strived to hold our institution and UM’s administration accountable. Our eyes are on the UM administration as they take actions to advance diversity on campus. This summer, UM’s provost and vice president of enrollment both resigned and moved to different universities. We will report on the administration as it hires for these positions, as well as the four interim dean positions that need to be filled by permanent candidates. We expect UM to be more proactive in recruiting from diverse pools.
- We intend to reach out to student leaders across campus and create a student advisory and feedback board, which would meet once a month. These forums would be optional, open and virtual, and it will be a chance for student leaders to speak with members of the editorial board and the Editor-in-Chief with questions, comments and concerns.
We welcome letters to the editor and will publish all letters that fit our guidelines, available online. We also encourage submissions for guest opinion columns. We believe in two-way communication with the community we serve, and giving voice to our readership.
Erin Sargent (Editor in Chief)
Sara Diggins (Digital Editor)
Claire Shinner (Multimedia Editor)
Addie Slanger (Features Editor)
Mazana Boerboom (News Editor)
Alex Miller (Arts and Culture / Opinion Editor)
Jack Marshall (Sports Editor)
Daylin Scott (Design Editor)