Editor’s Note: The Northern Star Editorial Board believes that its current lineup of editors does not allow it to accurately address race-related topics. For this editorial, the editorial board voted to hold an all-black staff session to discuss these issues. The board agreed to have the editorial written by a black staff member and was accepted by staff members who attended the session.
Looking from the outside, it would appear that the NIU is a predominantly white institution and so it may come as a surprise to some that this is not the case. NIU is a majority minority institution, in NIU’s own words demographic breakdown. The difference is that NIU does not reflect this diversity in its faculty and also in its media coverage.
The North Star, which represents students at NIU, has made the pledge that we are committed to sharing black stories and voices on campus and trying to recruit black staff. The Northern Star editorial board acknowledges that our coverage does not reflect the diversity of the NIU campus.
Currently, this presents a challenge, given that there are no black editors at the Northern Star.
Regardless, the Northern Star is committed to sharing black stories, but it is our duty to actively seek out these voices to highlight them. Having an all-white editorial staff, we have to go the extra mile to make sure we cover all sides on campus.
The Northern Star Editorial Board promises to uplift and encourage current Black staff members to continue to cover topics related to their community while committing to actively seek out and share stories from all campus communities by sitting down and having conversations with these organizations.
Students come to college to be exposed to different viewpoints and cultures and to grow as young adults, but how can this be done if the staff is not diverse?
The Editorial Board believes that NIU’s administration and faculty do not reflect the students it serves. Most professors are white, and it can be difficult for black students and students of color to get advice from people who have never experienced the challenges of entering an industry as a person of color.
As black students on this campus, we shouldn’t just feel safe in the communities we build ourselves; we should be able to see teachers and instructors who are like us so that they can be our mentors. We’re sure the faculty and administration care about our success, but they’ll never know the hardships of being a black man or woman in any industry.
We hope that NIU will take the appropriate steps to diversify its administration and staff to ensure the comfort of its students and to give everyone the chance to have like-minded mentors.
Adelphi University in Garden City, New York, decided in 2016 to set a goal of solving problems for its faculty. Adelphi University has implemented protocols such as requiring diversity training and seeking candidates of color at conferences and community centers in accordance with its strategic plan.
The Northern Star is always ready to grow, learn and ensure everyone is represented by our coverage. The editorial board hopes that the university will lead the student appeals because we want a diverse and comfortable learning environment, but we cannot do this without their help. And remember, Black History is every month, not just February.