'We screwed up': Texas State newspaper cuts ties with writer after 'racist' opinion column

An opinion article is at the center of debate at Texas State University tonight; the student author fired from his position and the student paper apologizing that it ever posted it.

Editor's Note: The Texas Star Editorial Board released a corrected statement on their standing with Rudy Martinez. This article has been updated to reflect that Martinez's work will no longer be featured in The Texas Star newspaper.

SAN MARCOS, Texas - The Texas State University Star Editorial Board is apologizing to its readers and informing them that they will no longer publish works from the columnist who wrote a piece with  "racist" undertones in their Wednesday paper.

"We screwed up," wrote the Editorial Board in a statement they released on their twitter page. "The author of the column has jeopardized the atmosphere of inclusivity at this university and will no longer be published in The University Star."

ORIGINAL STORY: Texas State president speaks out after publication's ‘racist opinion column'

The column, written by Rudy Martinez, was published on Nov. 28 and was titled "Your DNA is an Abomination." It received massive backlash from readers, who said the writer expressed racist ideals.

Student Body President Connor Clegg released a statement condemning the article and asking for the resignation of the author.

"The University Star has proven through this racist article that they no longer align with our core values as a university. It is imperative that we take necessary measure to ensure that tuition dollars do not go to fund this behavior," said Clegg.

The student-run independent newspaper said they received hate mail, death threats and calls for members of the editorial board to resign if changes were not made.

"We fully acknowledge the repercussions of our actions in allowing for such an incendiary and divisive column to make into print," the Editorial Board said.

As a result, the Editorial Board said they would take time to develop "comprehensive plans to guarantee that the upcoming semesters are guided by truth, transparency, and diversity of thought."

The Board said they also invite the public to contribute to the process by providing feedback on the incident. The conversations will be published in their next issue in the letters to the editor column.

Read the University Star's full statement below:

"I think we have a responsibility when we publish or air something that is as controversial as that is," said Al Tompkins, a Senior Faculty member at Poynter and Media Ethicist. "There better be a really good reason for it...and you better explain what that reason is."

Tompkins said opinion pieces are a real part of newspapers and news stations, but said they need a purpose. 

"For instance," he said, "if this had been written by someone of prominence, or something hidden and brought back up to prove that someone of prominence had said these things, then I think that would be justifiable. But there has to be a reason to cause that kind of social disruption."

According to Tompkins, publications benefit from giving context with opinion pieces and he said this should be a learning experience for the student publication.

"I'm all for free speech, I'm all for free press, but I'm also for accountability," he said. "If you have the freedom to publish this kind of op ed then you have the responsibility to explain why and to answer questions about the process, the decision making and so on."

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