Editor’s Note: What purpose do letters to the editor serve?

Top stories from accommodations to anti-abortion protesters to a K-indie band interview.

Alex Tey, Editor-in-Chief


Editor's Note

March 26, 2022
Editor’s Note is a weekly newsletter from WSN’s Editor-in-Chief that brings you the week’s top stories — and the stories behind the stories.
Hi everyone!

This week’s Editor’s Note highlights 12 of WSN’s top stories from the past week. A grad student says NYU’s Title IX office refused her accommodations, NYU baseball has been dominating Division III, and we ranked five types of campus heartbreakers.

Keep scrolling to read these stories and more, as well to see some of my thoughts on the role letters to the editor and guest opinion pieces could have at this publication.
Two windows surrounded by brick. Through the windows, a college class is being taught.
NYU's Silver School of Social Work is located at 1 Washington Square N. One student was denied desk accommodations in a Silver classroom. (Staff Photo by Sam Tu)
“This is unjust:” A graduate student in NYU’s Silver School of Social Work says her requests for classroom accommodations for her pregnancy complications were denied.

Two NYU alums are nominated for a documentary filmmaking award at college’s equivalent of the Emmys. Bohao Liu’s “Eagles Rest in Liangshan” portrays a man coaching young basketball players in his Chinese hometown, and Fiqah Rahman’s “Finding Freedom” explores her identity as a Muslim woman from Brunei in the context of Black Lives Matter protests. The awards ceremony takes place at 9 p.m. tonight, March 26.

A handful of anti-abortion activists wearing body cameras and carrying graphic signs staged a protest outside Bobst Library on Wednesday.
A student baseball player wearing a white uniform with the NYU logo and number 20 is throwing a baseball. The stadium has green seats and brown dirt on the field.

NYU Baseball pitcher Tyler Judge. (Image courtesy of NYU Athletics)

Sports, arts, culture
A five-game spring break road trip to Florida and a subsequent doubleheader sweep extended NYU baseball’s season-opening win streak to 9-0.

WSN’s Alex Tran spoke with the genre-defying Korean indie band SE SO NEON ahead of their March 31 concert in Brooklyn.

Phoebe Goldman’s original gin-based twist on the mojito is an ideal spring cocktail.
An illustration with a purple background, featuring three Instagram posts with two women in swimsuits, and another one wearing a strapless dress and pink sunglasses.

Beauty standards are heavily dependent on cultural context, leading to far-reaching insecurities. (Staff Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

Opinions and perspectives
Maia-Olivia McDonald described the struggles of navigating beauty standards — Caribbean, Black American, the shifting American mainstream — while growing up Black.

Everyone who’s applied to college in the last few decades has at some point come across US News & World Report’s list of the country’s top schools. Alexandra Goldberg used to have the top 50 memorized, but now she thinks college rankings are worse than pointless.

Zoe Ragouzeos, the executive director of NYU Counseling and Wellness Services, discussed NYU’s approach to handling suicide and mental health in a letter to the editor responding to a recent WSN Features article.
An illustration of five individuals. From left to right, a man with tattoos wearing a black graphic t-shirt, a man wearing an oversized white t-shirt and gray rounded sunglasses, a girl sitting at a cafe table, a man with a white button down shirt and khaki pants, and a man reclined on a white bed sheet.

To either comfort you or prepare you for the heartbreaks you have gone or will go through, WSN ranked five archetypes of NYU students who will break your heart by senior year. (Staff Illustrations by Aaliya Luthra)

WSN columns
Ranked: Whether or not you’ve personally been a victim, you definitely know these five types of NYU heartbreakers.

Off the Radar: This column features overlooked films that NYU students can watch for free through the university’s streaming partnerships. This week, Amira Aboudallah reviews “The Gleaners and I,” a 2000 French documentary about the traditional practice of gleaning farm fields for a harvest’s leftovers.

The Soapbox: The United States has been prioritizing refugees from European countries while deporting refugees from Latin America and the Caribbean back to dangerous situations, Kristian Burt writes in WSN’s weekly roundup of global news.
On the future of letters to the editor
In the first Editor’s Note of this semester, I talked about how readers can make their voice heard at WSN. One of the things I mentioned was submitting a Letter to the Editor for publication in our Opinion section, and since then we’ve published several such letters.

More recently, though, we’re thinking about what purpose the Letter to the Editor section (as it currently exists at WSN) actually serves. Not like we’re thinking of eliminating it — we’re thinking of expanding it, in a way.

The traditional function of a Letter to the Editor section is to provide readers with a venue to provide short responses to a newspaper’s work — a comments section before comments sections existed.

Now, with comments sections built into every newspaper’s website (not to mention the ability to discuss on social media), that role has shifted.

These days at WSN, the Letter to the Editor section is a sort of a catchall platform for audience voices from NYU administrators and spokespeople responding to articles to students who want to draw attention to their cause.

If WSN wants its Opinion section to be a venue for the cultivation of constructive, well-reasoned discourse on campus (which it does), this might not be the best structure for doing that.

We’ve also recently gotten some submissions that blur the line between letters to the editor and article submissions (which, in general, we do not accept), but we still think they’re worth publishing.

One possibility we’re considering is establishing some sort of dedicated space for opinion columns from guest authors. This would give us more leeway to vet the writers and their ideas than a letter format, and would help cement WSN’s status as NYU’s paper of record — at least, we see ourselves that way. (I mean, who else would it be?)

Letters to the Editors, in turn, might be kept to brief responses to specific articles, while the guest opinion section could address current events and ideas in greater depth.

If you have any thoughts on what this might look like, go ahead and reach out — after all, this is about you-the-reader. You could even send in a letter to the editor about letters to the editor.

You know where to reach me to share your thoughts! Until next week,

—the editor

Alex Tey
[email protected]

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