Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Emerson College’s only independent, student-run newspaper since 1947

The Berkeley Beacon

Letter from the Editor: By the students, for the students

Jakob Menendez
The Little Building residence hall.

It feels almost pointless to lead with the unavoidable news that 118 protesters were forcibly arrested from the 2B alley on April 25—undoubtedly, every student, faculty, staff, and community member is not only aware of this, but is affected in some way or another. 

As a student, I don’t know how to feel. Witnessing such violence and force on my own campus—just two weeks away from leaving it forever—has truly shaken me to the core. Walking by the alley—the center, the heart of our campus—I feel empty. I wonder if my classmates’ blood still stains the bricks beneath my feet. I wonder if it will ever truly wash away. 

As the editor-in-chief of a paper that aims to give voice to the most important happenings on our campus, I feel empowered. I have never felt our coverage to be so important, so vital as it is now. More than anything, I have never understood the importance of journalism so deeply as I do today. 

Just over a month ago, following the arrests of 13 students at President Jay Bernhardt’s inauguration, our publication came face to face with what it means to be a student paper: give voice to the students. And we have learned far more than this in the weeks since. 

We are learning to balance both the traditional standards of journalism and a commitment to challenging the norm. As the events unfolded on April 25, we did what any news outlet would have done: we reported what we saw, and have continued to do so ever since. We are learning to not only report holistically and accurately, but to do so quickly and efficiently. We are working to prove—sometimes to ourselves—that we do not have to choose between being timely and being right. 

Now more than ever, it is beyond imperative that students see themselves reflected in the pages of student publications—if we don’t look out for our own, who will? 

The past 48 hours, we have looked this reality in the eye, and we have heard our peer’s cries for representation. Because they failed to arrive on scene despite clear warning that arrests would be made, news outlets have relied heavily on Boston Police Department’s versions of events, omitting clear and obvious evidence of student injury—photos of scratches, bruises, and bloodstains, videos of idle protesters being tossed to the ground, and most importantly, real and raw student accounts of Thursday’s arrests.

At the Beacon, we are facing what can feel like an impossible struggle: to remain objective, fair, and accurate reporters capturing the unbiased happenings of our campus, all the while experiencing these happenings as classmates, peers, friends of the underrepresented, the arrested, the bloodied, the bruised. We are not just reporting on these events—we are experiencing them, too. 

As we have continued our commitment to covering these arrests from every angle, we deeply and wholeheartedly understand that our coverage cannot be completed without first person narratives. We also recognize that this is not an issue that started or ended on April 25, and wish to capture how these arrests came to be and how they will continue to affect students and our community far beyond this day, this week, and even this year. 

Though we may be the ones putting words to paper, it is our student body whose voices this community needs to hear. 

All of this goes without saying that right now, this same student body is deeply hurting, and is attempting to heal both emotional and physical wounds. 

Though typical norms would push us to simply reach out to arrested students and request a quick, efficient, and transactional interview, we understand a student paper’s unique ability to do things differently. 

As an editorial staff, we are inviting any and all students, faculty, staff, and community members to come forward and tell us not only what happened on April 25, but how they are feeling now. We urge you—no matter your views or alignments—to tell us how these events have affected you. We wish to hear how you feel about the campus culture here at Emerson this semester and beyond. 

We also understand that students may feel hesitant to come forward, and hesitant to trust our organization with their story. In an effort to empathize with the gravity of this situation, we are more than willing to speak with our peers before conducting formal interviews, to speak off the record, to hear story proposals, or to simply speak as students to students. 

We wish to simply know what you, our fellow students, are feeling, and make the Beacon a place where every single student feels represented and heard. 

Should you feel comfortable, we encourage students, faculty, staff, or community members to reach out at [email protected] or DM us at @berkeleybeacon. Students may also email me personally at [email protected], or DM me personally at @sophiepargas. 

At the very least, I wish to tell students that both as a peer of Emerson and the editor-in-chief of the Beacon, I understand beyond belief the need to not just tell student stories, but to listen to them. 

And if you haven’t heard it yet: I see you, I hear you, and I am listening. I know I am not alone.

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About the Contributor
Sophia Pargas
Sophia Pargas, Editor-in-Chief
Sophia Pargas (she/her) is a senior Journalism and Marketing Communications double major from Miami, Florida. She has served on the Beacon since her sophomore year, using it as an opportunity to grow professionally and cover the things that matter to her—personal narratives, culture, ethics, arts, and much more. Outside of the paper, Sophia is a member of Alpha Epsilon Phi, an Engagement Lab student fellow, and has held several journalism and marketing internships at NBCUniversal, NBC South Florida, NBC Boston, and WCVB. To learn more about Sophia, her passions, and her experience, visit her personal portfolio "The SCP Journal." 

Comments (1)

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    Elizabeth / May 1, 2024 at 12:37 pm

    This is really important work, Ms. Pargas. As a local high school teacher, I find myself very proud and inspired by the work students are doing to raise and uplift peoples and voices that are often ignored. It’s the cornerstone of my pedagogy as a teacher, and I am so inspired by Gen Z’s adherence to those same principles. Never stop.