We’re changing our name

Beginning in the fall of 2016, the student newspaper of Whitman College will no longer be The Pioneer. After a year of discussion with our editorial team and staff, we believe that the paper’s name no longer reflects our mission and place in campus culture.

We’re looking forward to collaborating with the Whitman community in the coming weeks as we decide upon a new name for the paper. A survey will be sent to community listservs this week, and we will hold focus groups in late February and early March to advise the Editorial Board on selecting a name and brand. We’re excited to hear your thoughts and feedback throughout this process.

A hundred and twenty years ago, this newspaper was founded on a college campus in the Inland Northwest. The Pioneer has transformed many times over the decades. At the time the paper was founded, the college was in the midst of reinforcing a telling of history that celebrated the arrival of white invaders–pioneers–to the Columbia Plateau. According to this story of the pioneers, they arrived in an empty and savage land. In reality, they were coming into the homelands of the Cayuse, Walla Walla, Umatilla and other peoples who have inhabited this land for as long as any can remember.

Critically engaging in Whitman College’s past, and, in particular, its relationship to settler-colonialism and white supremacy in the Inland Northwest, is extremely important. By changing the newspaper’s name, we hope to encourage greater discussion and engagement with this history and move away from the traditional Whitman narrative. At the same time, we aim to have the name better represent the diverse, tolerant and curious community the paper serves.

Please join us in building a history of which future generations can be proud to be a part.

Lachlan Johnson, ‘16        Sarah Cornett, ‘16        Marra Clay, ‘17

Investigative Director        Editor-in-Chief            Publisher