Welcome to the first (almost) entirely in-person semester at USF in over two years! My name is Zoe Binder and this will be my first semester serving as editor in chief of the Foghorn. I have worked at the paper for a year, first as a general assignment reporter and then as opinion editor, but I have contributed to its pages since my first semester at USF.
Since I arrived at USF, the Foghorn has been my go-to source for all campus related information. So much of my understanding of the inner workings of this University comes from the Foghorn’s coverage of campus events, administrative news, and student insights in op-eds.
The Foghorn has a history of not only covering light-hearted campus news, but also publishing researched investigative reports that hold the University accountable for its actions or inactions. My experience at the Foghorn thus far has been driven by a team of journalists who conducted such reporting in order to uphold the motto of the paper: freedom and fairness.
In a time when USF was under fire on a national level, we felt passionate about voicing the dissatisfaction many students felt toward the University. This inspired us to publish negative opinions about the University as a default in our staff editorials. However, it is not the sole purpose of the Foghorn to muckrake, it is our purpose to provide accurate and balanced reporting of university related issues. It is our intention to stay committed to the purpose of the paper this year and provide a more balanced reflection of student and campus life at USF.
We also recognize the student body’s diversity in all regards, including its diversity of cultures, belief systems, and political ideologies. We want our paper to be a space where every USF student can see themselves reflected in our coverage, or feel confident contributing to our pages themselves. The Foghorn loses all of its value if it is not written by and for its most important readership: the students.
With that in mind, we want students to know that their contributions to the paper are always more than welcome. Our staff is made up of students from diverse backgrounds who are studying a variety of subjects at USF, but we are only 14 of almost 6,000 undergraduates. The more of your voices we can include in our pages, the more accurate our representation of the University will be. You can sign up to contribute by scanning the QR code below.
This week, all of our stories are written by current staff and returning writers. Of the 14 of us, eight staff members are new to the Foghorn, and we want to give them space to introduce themselves through their writing in this issue.
Lastly, we would like to kickstart this academic year with an initiative inspired by the Foghorn staff of 1931. Prior to that year, USF’s athletic department was not represented by our current Don Francisco, but rather by the “Grey Fog.” According to the “What’s a Don?” page on USF’s website, the San Francisco Junior Chamber of Commerce thought the former mascot’s name would “hurt the city’s advertising.” In response to them, the Foghorn asked their readership to propose a new name. Once suggestions were in, Father President Edward Whelan, S.J. formed a committee of students, alumni, and administrators to select a new name, and Don was the winner.
In 2022, 91 years later, we feel that this decision should be reevaluated and we will revive the energy of our predecessors to make that happen. The “What’s a Don?” page describes Don as a term, “Once used as a fancy way to address Spanish nobles,” that, “evolved to mean a distinguished gentleman.” The page also mentions that the Don is a “subtle nod” to San Francisco’s first mayor, Don Francisco de Haro.
These descriptions all point to a history of colonization — specifically the colonization of Native Americans in California by predominantly Spanish missionaries — that the University is critical of. It is part of USF’s mission as a Jesuit institution, and a large draw for many of its applicants, to pursue social justice whenever possible. A colonial figure is an ironic mismatch for a student body focused on repairing injustices.
With that, we would like to ask you, dear students, what our representative of school spirit should look like. What do we want to see in a mascot that encompasses our values, but also lifts our spirits? You will find QR codes around campus where you can submit your ideas, or you can always email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any names and designs you would like to propose.
Feel free to contact me with any questions, concerns, or insights you may have. It is a privilege for us to represent you in our pages and we look forward to recording our shared history with you this year.