Letter From the Combat Zone Editor
Dear Campus Community,
I write to you today to sincerely apologize on behalf of myself and the Combat Zone for publishing a culturally offensive image in the March 15 issue of The Trail. Though the intent was lighthearted, the image itself was reminiscent of deeply painful images meant to dehumanize people of color, and for that harm I write to express my deepest regret.
When writing and producing satire, we have a responsibility to maintain sensitivity to the potential impact of our work, as well as to educate ourselves on the history and context of satirical works and cartoons. On March 15, I fell short of both of those responsibilities. I am deeply mortified, working to try to understand how something this inappropriate slipped past my radar, and working especially to examine my own thinking and actions.
Our Editor-in-Chief and I have been reaching out to multiple faculty and staff, seeking feedback and resources to ensure that such a mistake does not happen in the future. Moving forward, the Combat Zone will be making several concrete changes:
We will be adhering to a stricter process oversight, to ensure that more people view each edition before publication.
I have been using the library’s resources to compile educational material for myself and my staff regarding the history and context of such images. I will be leaving behind these resources for any following Combat Zone editor, in addition to a detailed explanation of the situation surrounding the March 15th cartoon and its impact.
As a staff, we will be participating in The Trail’s upcoming cultural competency training.
The Combat Zone staff will be having ongoing conversations with faculty about our particular role and responsibilities as satirists. We will be adding these conversations into the ongoing canon of responsibilities of a Combat Zone writer.
The most important thing, moving forward, is that this offense does not get swept under the rug. I want to approach the situation with frankness and honesty, so that future Combat Zone writers and editors may enter their jobs with more sensitivity and education.
It is my ultimate hope that we can use this as a learning opportunity to create a lasting impact on The Trail and on the Combat Zone. We are aiming to prevent such a situation from happening again, but most importantly, we hope the steps we are taking will carry these lessons on into the future.
Linnea Stoll, Combat Zone editor
Puget Sound Trail