An opinion column against “whiteness” that drew attention online after being published in Texas State University’s student newspaper Wednesday has also drawn the ire of the college’s president, who has called the piece “racist.”
The op-ed comes during an emotionally volatile school year that began with white supremacist and racist fliers being posted across the San Marcos campus soon after the November 2016 elections, and more posters appearing in the winter and spring. Most recently, white supremacist fliers appeared on buildings in late October.
The University Star column, written by Texas State junior Rudy Martinez, condemns white privilege and criticizes white people who deny they have any sort of privilege because of their race. The published headline says, “Your DNA is an abomination.”
It concludes by saying, “Ontologically speaking, white death will mean liberation for all. To you good-hearted liberals, apathetic nihilists and right-wing extremists: Accept this death as the first step toward defining yourself as something other than the oppressor.”
Martinez did not respond to a request for comment by press deadline Thursday. The column appears to have been taken down from the University Star’s website. The student newspaper’s editor in chief, Denise Cervantes, apologized for publishing the piece.
“We acknowledge that the column could have been clearer in its message and that it has caused hurt within our campus community,” Cervantes said in a statement.
The column’s author has been fired, the University Star’s editorial board wrote in an open letter Thursday, in which they apologized for the column and said they were wrong to publish it.
“We screwed up,” the editorial board wrote.
University President Denise M. Trauth said in her own statement that she was “deeply troubled” by this “racist opinion column.”
As Trauth had done during the multiple controversies this year surrounding the white supremacist posters, she condemned the material and defended the college’s values and ideals.
“The column’s central theme was abhorrent and is contrary to the core values of inclusion and unity that our Bobcat students, faculty and staff hold dear,” Trauth said in the statement. “As president of a university that celebrates its inclusive culture, I detest racism in any manifestation.”
Trauth said she acknowledges that the student newspaper “is a forum for students to freely express their opinions” but she expects “student editors to exercise good judgment in determining the content that they print.”
Critics who descended in droves onto Martinez’s Facebook account, which was public as of Thursday, posted Martinez’s personal cellphone number and the number of his workplace.
Martinez wrote on Facebook that Trauth “is no longer a member of my ‘decent dozen,’” a reference to his column in which he says, “When I think of all the white people I have ever encountered … there is perhaps only a dozen I would consider decent.”