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An apology letter from The Tartan

Dear readers of The Tartan,

In the last issue of 2015, we published a series of letters to the editor about the black student experience at Carnegie Mellon. When these letters were published, it was brought to our attention that the letters had been edited in the production process, which is both against our policy and highly unethical. Though the editing was an innocent mistake that resulted from a training gap, it is regrettable and unacceptable. The message of the letters was altered when the letters were edited without the permission of the authors. We at The Tartan are deeply sorry that this happened, and are taking all of the necessary steps to ensure that it will not happen again.

The letters to the editor we publish are intended to be a platform from which student voices from our community can be heard. By editing the letters, The Tartan violated the trust of the student body. In light of this, we, Brian Trimboli and Laura Scherb, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, respectively, would like to reiterate the revised letter to the editor policy, which is effective immediately: “Letters must be submitted by 5 p.m. on the Wednesday before publication by mail or to forum@thetartan.org. Letters from within the university community take precedence. Letters intended for publication must be signed and include the author’s address and telephone number for verification; letters must not exceed 350 words. No edits will be made to any published letters without the author’s permission; in the case of no response from the author, The Tartan reserves the right to postpone the publication of the letter. Authors’ names may be withheld from publication upon request. The Tartan reserves the right to reject any letter.”

On behalf of the entire staff of The Tartan, we would like to apologize again for our actions regarding these letters to the editor. It was never our intention to silence a voice or change a narrative, and we hope that we can regain the trust of the student body in light of these actions.

Sincerely,
Laura Scherb, Publisher, 2015
Brian Trimboli, Editor-in-Chief, 2015

Addendum:

As the new Tartan leadership, it is important to us that our letter to the editor policy be sustainable moving forward. We do not intend to return to our flawed original policy, but in the coming weeks, we will consult with industry professionals and legal aid in order to solidify a new policy that best benefits both The Tartan and the Carnegie Mellon community. We welcome continued discussion and will gladly meet with anyone who wishes to further discuss our course of action in this matter. The campus community will be promptly informed of any future changes to our policy. In the interim, the changes to the policy will stand as written above. Our main goal is to ensure that letters to the editor remain an effective platform for student and community voices.

Sincerely,
Sarah Gutekunst, Publisher
Claire Gianakas, Editor-in-Chief
Jade Crockem, Operations Manager