Axios contacted editors at 120 U.S. college student newspapers and asked them, “What matters most to students today?”
What they’re saying: Race, diversity and inclusion were by far the most discussed issues among student editors across public and private universities, community colleges, liberal arts schools, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and religious universities in all 50 states.
Events like an image of a brutalized Dora the Explorer found in a course presentation at Vanderbilt University, racist notes left in public spaces at St. Olaf College and a student live-streaming white nationalist thoughts at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln have dominated the pages of student papers.
But the concern about race and inclusion reflects decades or centuries of history — not just isolated events.
At the University of Virginia, where the white supremacist “Unite the Right” rally riled the nation in 2017, students are still “trying to reckon with what it means to go to a school built by enslaved people and founded by a slave-owner,” says Gracie Kreth.
The town and university continue to debate whether to remove a Civil War monument to Confederate general Robert E. Lee.
At Georgetown University, Maya Gandhi tells Axios that campus conversation was dominated last semester by a referendum aimed to establish a fee for students that would benefit the descendants of 272 slaves sold by Georgetown in 1838.