A Syracuse University student has been fired from a local paper after she wrote a column arguing that institutional racism didn’t exist. Picture: Nick Lisi/AP
A Syracuse University student has been fired from a local paper after she wrote a column arguing that institutional racism didn’t exist. Picture: Nick Lisi/AP

Column that got journalist sacked

Syracuse University student Adrianna San Marco was fired from her gig as a columnist at a local newspaper when she dismissed the notion of "institutional racism" in an opinion piece for a separate, conservative website.

San Marco, an outspoken conservative, stands by her column in The Daily Orange, despite widespread backlash. In the piece published by LifeZette, she called institutional racism a "myth" and claimed statistics indicate that police do not target African-Americans.

The Daily Orange is an independent newspaper that does not rely on New York's Syracuse University for funding, but the paper's editorial content is run entirely by university students, according to its website.

San Marco said the paper "is guilty of limiting dissent" and feels Syracuse University discriminates against conservative views altogether.

Daily Orange editor-in-chief Casey Darnell told Fox News that his paper "has published dozens of columns and letters to the editor from liberal and conservative writers alike" but feels San Marco crossed a line.

"Dismissing the existence of racism, whether institutional or otherwise, dismisses the lived experiences of people of colour, especially our black community members. San Marco's article reinforces false and dangerous stereotypes of black people as criminals, and dismisses that police officers kill black people at disproportionately higher rates than white people," Darnell said.

"We aren't afraid of controversial views, but we have a responsibility to avoid promoting harmful ones. We don't censor conservative columnists," Darnell said. "In fact, we have already hired a conservative columnist to replace San Marco."

In an email interview with Fox News, San Marco told her side of the story, explained why she feels The Daily Orange limits diversity of thought, and said cancel culture has become a "central pillar of social media".

Syracuse University student Adrianna San Marco. Picture: Fox News
Syracuse University student Adrianna San Marco. Picture: Fox News


Fox News: Walk us through what happened with you and The Daily Orange when your column on institutional racism was published.

San Marco: The opinion piece I wrote for LifeZette titled, 'Why Institutional Racism is a Myth,' garnered a lot of attention early on. My peers began calling me horrible names and threatening me the day after it was published and within two days of the story being released I received an email from The Daily Orange terminating me. The editor-in-chief felt my writing included "racist undertones" and instead of engaging with a differing political opinion decided it was best to fire me.

FN: What kind of feedback have you received on the piece, aside from The Daily Orange terminating you over it?

SM: Since the story was published I have received an overwhelming response. I am grateful to have people who have supported me and come to my defence. I have been sent private messages that thank me for voicing my opinion and reporting the truth. Unfortunately, I have also been faced with a large amount of threatening and hateful messages. My peers and professors have celebrated me being fired with some calling for my expulsion. Most disturbingly, I have received countless physical threats to attack me once I am back on campus. I don't foresee the upcoming semester being easy but I am hopeful no physical harm comes to me.

FN: Looking back, would you have done anything differently?

SM: After the piece was published and the hateful messages started pouring in, I did more research into institutional racism. Additionally, I read studies attempting to disprove my arguments that were sent to me by my peers and professors at Syracuse University. Now more than ever I feel confident in my views and research. There is nothing I would have done differently. I stand by my analysis.

FN: You said this wasn't the first time a conservative voice was censored at Syracuse University. What are other examples?

SM: There have been conservative organisations as well as individual students who face discrimination at Syracuse University. SU's chapter of College Republicans sought to bring (conservative political commentator) Ben Shapiro to campus this (autumn) as a speaker but received a formal condemnation from the Student Association who called Shapiro a "white supremacist".

Additionally, one of my peers, Justine Murray, attempted to start a chapter of Young Americans for Freedom at SU and was denied. The University argued that YAF's support of the Constitution is "exclusionary to international students". It was not until the administration was pressured by media that the chapter was recognised. Additionally, Justine faced countless personal challenges for being a conservative student at SU. She has been physically intimidated by protesters on campus while reporting and even professors have harassed and targeted her for her reporting.

Censorship at Syracuse University is not uncommon. In fact, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education ranks SU as one of the top 10 worst colleges for free speech.

FN: Is The Daily Orange limiting diversity of thought in general, or was it just this particular column that bothered them?

SM: The Daily Orange is guilty of limiting dissent. When I was introduced to the editorial editor I was quickly asked to confirm that I didn't hold any "extreme" Republican views. He then cited other students he would refuse a platform to because of their opinions. This conversation is concerning considering there are only two conservative columnists at The Daily Orange. I question how many other columnists were privately fired or had applications rejected because of their political views.

FN: Do you feel there is a "cancel culture" in America, and if so, what should be done about it?

SM: There absolutely is a cancel culture, in fact it has become a central pillar of social media. If your views don't align with the progressive left they attempt to silence your voice. Several conservative speakers … have been "cancelled" because they dare to defy the narrative written by the left. The solution for this could come from two sources, one being far more likely than the other. Either Twitter users mature overnight and stop the childish "cancel party" hashtags or those with power can stop listening. I doubt the mob will stop tweeting any time soon so the best solution is to ignore them. Media outlets shouldn't be dictated by twitter hashtags nor should politicians. Cancel culture is only powerful if we give in to their ignorance.

Syracuse University did not respond to a request for comment.

This article originally appeared on Fox News and was reproduced with permission

Originally published as Column that got journalist sacked