Perhaps the best thing that can be said for the April Fools edition of The Maneater, the University of Missouri’s student-run newspaper, is that it provided “a huge learning experience.”
The worst? That it was “incredibly offensive and potentially damaging to the social climate at MU.”
Both assessments came from the paper’s managing editor, Abby Spudich, after a campus outcry over the edition, which used several words and phrases derogatory toward lesbians and women in general.
The Maneater, which is published twice a week, is entirely staffed by students and is operated independently from the Missouri School of Journalism.
The edition generated several letters from students who were ticked off that the paper, in an attempt to be humorous, was insensitive.
“This edition was offensive, crude and not something that represents Mizzou or its students,” senior Kathy Rudd wrote. “ It isn’t satirical. It certainly isn’t journalism.”
Spudich followed the April Fools edition with a public apology Friday.
In her letter, Spudich wrote: “The biggest failure on our part is that this edition has spread negativity and hurt toward marginalized groups. A second major failure is that this edition is contradictory to The Maneater’s point of view toward diversity issues.”
Student writers and editors, she wrote, had learned a lesson.
“I learned I cannot assume what others might find to be offensive based solely on my own background, as my own personal background isn’t good enough, and ignorance is not an excuse when using offensive language,” Spudich wrote.
Travis Cornejo, editor of The Maneater, did not respond to a request for comment Monday afternoon.
The paper has decided not to publish an April Fools edition next year.