Last week, The Maneater published a column written by Chris Vas called “Column: Black Lives Matter is addressing the wrong problem,” in which Vas says the movement should focus on strengthening black families instead of protesting police brutality. This semester, his first with the paper, Vas has written about transgender bathroom access policies and Donald Trump’s candidacy.
It came to my attention that Vas had coordinated with a friend in the MU Social Justice Network Facebook page to have them post his columns on that page with inciting language.
The Maneater terminated its relationship with Vas on Monday. He is no longer an active staff member.
We did not dismiss him from our staff over a difference of opinion. We fired him because we cannot have members of our staff actively seeking to spark controversy rather than foster healthy discussions.
Vas’ opinion column in question was just that — an opinion column, not a reported piece of journalism from our news department. The Maneater instituted strict policies earlier this year separating our news department from our opinion department. Staff writers cannot, under any circumstances, act as both an opinion columnist and a news reporter. The opinions expressed in the opinion section’s columns have no bearing on our ability to produce honest and unbiased journalism.
As the student voice of MU, The Maneater should publish opinions from all ends of the political spectrum, even those that members of our staff and the university community at large do not always agree with. At the beginning of the year, we hired columnists with a variety of ideologies in good faith. That said, we regret the hurt we know this column caused to people and communities on this campus.
The Maneater is always looking to represent the student voice, as we’ve tried to do since 1955. We invite you to share your opinions with us. Send a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear from you.