To the editorial team,
I am apalled by a recent article in mathNEWS for its blatently sexist message. This article was brought to my attention by a friend and after reading it I am compelled to act; I hope you will feel the same.
Published on October 4th, the article is entitled Top 10 Rejected Froshweek Themes With Potential Team Names. The second suggested theme was "Derogatory Terms for Women" and included the potential team names "Bitch, Ho, Mother, mathNEWS writer, mathNEWS bunny, Skank, Sluts, and Cum Dumpster".
The article is obviously a warped attempt at humour. However, casual use of such words is far from humorous. These words perpetuate a system of demoralization and degradation. The title thinly veils the author's intent to get a laugh at the expense of a maginalized group. Words like "cum dumpster" and "sluts" clearly convey his mysogeny and objectify and humiliate women. Imagine how this article would be received if it listed derogatory terms for homosexuals or persons of colour.
I find it extremely upsetting that a publication would have the audacity to print such an article and fund it with students' tuition. An apology from both the writer and the editor is warranted and until one is received I am calling for a boycott of mathNews by all people who oppose discrimination.
As editor, content is part of my responsibility. Mostly, this involves attempting to correct spelling and grammar and generally trying to make things legible (and hopefully funny). I try not to censor the articles that come into the mathNEWS system because I believe that free speech is an important and that my role as editor should be to help propagate free speech and not curtail it.
However, I do also agree that there are certain lines that should not be crossed. I think that this time one of those lines was crossed. I'm sorry that the article offended you. I don't believe, and neither do any of the other senior mathNEWS staffers, that women should be degraded with these words or any others at any time.
I forwarded your complaint to the author of the article and I've left it up to him to do what he thinks is appropriate. But as editor it is I that have ultimate responsibility and this time I believe I've failed that responsibility. I hope you can believe me when I say that I hope I can do better in the future.
Also, I feel I should point out an error in your original email. You stated that mathNEWS was supported by tuition. It is in fact supported as part of the Mathematics Society (MathSoc) fee. Of the $10.50 that gets paid to MathSoc every term on your fee statement, we get $3.00. So if you still want to protest mathNEWS, you can hit us where it hurts and ask for your money back at the beginning of each term. However you can only ask for the money back in the first few weeks of a term and can only get back the entire MathSoc fee (which means you can't use some of MathSoc's services like the hardcopy exambank)[You also have to be in math. If you aren't, then you haven't even paid the MathSoc fee in the first place. — phatED]. For a better explanation of this I suggest contacting the MathSoc Vice President Finance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any more comments please contact me again at email@example.com.