UPDATE: The Primary Source calls offensive carol “editorial oversight,” self-imposes one-semester suspension

Posted by thetuftsdaily on December 13, 2012 under Campus News | Be the First to Comment


Justin McCallum for the Tufts Daily

The satirical “Christmas carol”  published in today’s The Primary Source was a result of editorial oversight and does not reflect the views of the Source‘s staff, according to the publication’s editor-in-chief, junior Chris Piraino, who announced tonight that the Source will suspend publication next semester as “an expression of regret” to the Tufts community.

In a statement sent to the Daily by e-mail just after 6:30 p.m, Piraino writes that the published carol, which makes light of efforts to combat rape culture and refers to feminists at Tufts as “slutty dressers,” was copy and pasted verbatim from an old template from the Dec. 1999 issue. The carol in question, entitled “Take Back the Night,” was “neither replaced, deleted, nor examined in any way” before publication, according to Piraino, who pointed out that the word “oppressor” is spelled incorrectly in both the 1999 version and in the version published today. Piraino called the piece “disgusting,”  ”indefensible” and took responsibility for its inclusion, though he denied having read or edited it.

“Take Back the Night” was the only satirical Christmas carol included in this week’s issue that also appeared in 1999′s issue. Carols from Dec. 1999 that were not included in this week’s issue include one entitled “Token Minority,” sung to the tune of “Drummer Boy,” part of which reads:

Poor white engineer,
pa rum pum pum pum
You are not welcome here,
pa rum pum pum pum
Unless you say you’re queer,

At least one other satirical carol in this week’s issue did involve original content. “The Committee on Student Life,”  meant to be sung to the tune of “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer,”  criticizes the campus’ reaction to the recent ruling by the CSL that religious groups may apply for an exemption from the university’s anti-discrimination policy in their leadership criteria. It begins:

The Committee on Student Life

Had a very good idea: (like a Sourcer!)

“Stop persecuting Christians,”

They said for all Tufts to hear (How weird!)

Here is a screen shot of the original layout of the 1999 issue, followed by the format presented this week in the Dec. 12 issue:

Screen Shot 2012-12-13 at 9.04.00 PMNewPS

The full text of Piraino’s response is below.

“To the Tufts Community,

On behalf of the editorial board of The Primary Source, I would like to sincerely apologize for a parody Christmas Carol that was printed in our latest issue, entitled “Take Back the Night.” The piece is a disgusting, indefensible attack on an event that supports survivors of rape and sexual assault. It does not reflect the views or opinions of any member of The Primary Source. As strongly as possible, we disown and condemn this piece.

Like many publications, The Primary Source uses old issues as templates; in this case, a 1999 issue containing this carol was used. Due to editorial oversight, it was neither replaced, deleted, nor examined in any way. In fact, the word “oppressors” is misspelled in literally the exact same way in both issues. I take personal responsibility for not making sure that the carol was removed from the template.

The piece is offensive not only for its dismissive tone but also for its factual inaccuracies. Rape and sexual assault are serious crimes that are all too pervasive. Rape and sexual assault are always the fault of the rapist, and never the fault of the survivor. Rape and sexual assault are never justified, and they are never funny. Period. The motto of the Source is Veritas Sine Dolo, Latin for “truth without sorrow”; reprinting this carol is a betrayal of the values for which this publication purports to stand.

Effective immediately, The Primary Source will go on a one-semester self-imposed suspension, both to review our editorial practices and to express our apologies and regret for allowing this to happen.

Chris Piraino
Editor-in-Chief, The Primary Source”

An older Christmas edition of The Primary Source. Aalok Kanani / The Tufts Daily Archives

An older Christmas edition of The Primary Source. Aalok Kanani / The Tufts Daily Archives

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