Letter from the Editor: He Said Column


Dear students, faculty, staff and alumni,

On Wednesday afternoon, shortly after the release of this week’s issue, a group of students gathered outside of The Mirror office in order to protest the content of the “He Said,” column written by Chris Surette alongside Allyson Wuensch’s “She Said,” column.

The “He Said/She Said” columns are a tradition of The Mirror that date back many years and are a section of The Mirror that is most read and most controversial. The articles are not meant to be serious journalism and are not a representation of the entire Mirror staff. Instead, they are a representation of the views of Chris Surette, based on satirical and stereotypical thoughts of men.

I would like to state that as a classmate and friend of Chris, that he is not the same person as he is in his column in his day-to-day life. He is playing the role of a character, a satirical, stereotypical college man and in that role, is bringing to light the very issues that were being voiced at the protest. While at times the column may be over the top, personal attacks on Chris and his family are not the way to express your feelings about his column.

As a column, “He Said,” serves the purpose of serving up the sort of debate that was spurned by his latest column.  It is meant to bring about thoughts about the male and female mind. While “He Said” clearly does not represent all men, it is not meant to.  It is a satirical column in nature with the goal of being outrageous and over the top.

With that goal, it is bound to offend some members of our campus community. We respect the views of all members of the campus, but at the same time we ask for respect for our right of freedom of speech that allows us to publish these columns each week.

The Mirror has a goal of providing a voice for the students, but as an independent publication that simply sells the papers to the University, we are under no obligation to print what the administration or the student body as a whole wants to hear. We receive no funding from tuition or student fees and have no oversight from any member of the administration or faculty. As editor in chief, I have the final say over what content goes into the paper each week.

At the same time, we encourage this sort of lively discussion. It is important for members of the campus to be passionate about topics, even if they are attacking something in our paper. We would rather you write to us and tell us what you see wrong, than stay silent.

I encourage you to use your voice and submit Letters to the Editor to themirror.feedback@gmail.com at anytime or stop by the office and talk. We will certainly be having an internal discussion on the matter and also invite anyone who wishes to speak to our editorial board to come to the office at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 5.

We appreciate your thoughts and concerns and will take them into consideration. Please feel free to email me anytime at tom.w.cleary@gmail.com or stop by the office to chat.

We will be covering the story today with articles and pictures from the protest, as well as video and invite anyone to comment on the article with their thoughts.

Thank you,

Tom Cleary
Editor in Chief

45 Responses to Letter from the Editor: He Said Column

  1. whatajoke says:

    Well said Tom. I do think that maybe the staff should get out of the “stereotypical” male mind because honestly, who defines what is stereotypical? Aren’t you only feeding into that stereotype by producing articles that reinforce that it is standard for guys to think of woman as objects to put on their “hall of fame.”

    Substitue “women” in this article with any other category or group and the whole climate of this issue goes to another level and would be considered racist. So why do we just assume that women are ok to attack? What makes them ok to ‘attack’ in this way?

    I get that the article is for entertainment and obviously it does it’s job about as well as Andrew Dice Clay did back in the 80s and early 90s. It’s offensive, it raises eyebrows, and hey it sells papers right?

    The student body can complain all they want but the Mirror will still hit it’s designated spots on campus and you can be sure to find copies of it in every bathroom, Barone table, and residence hall.

    Students you want to make a difference? Stop picking up the paper because in the end, actions speak louder than words.

    • your name says:

      whatajoke has a point…the Mirror belongs in the bathrooms, along with the other stupid graffiti one finds on the bathroom stalls.

      I would recommend to anyone at this University to quickly grab as many copies of the Mirror and promptly place them in the blue recycled bins as soon as they appear on the stands. Until the Mirror grows up and gets out of 5th grade, it is not worthy of distribution on a college campus.

  2. Mr.O says:

    As the male parent of a Fairfield University female sophomore, I can understand Mr. Surette’s wanting to become the new Howard Stern of college newspapers. Let’s face it, with the new level of decadence exhibited nowadays, Mr. Surette has struck a nerve in his writings which he can then run and hide behind under the umbrella of freedom of speech especially within the unsupervised ramblings of a college newspaper. As the good students of Fairfield University correctly stand up and denounce violence against women, Mr. Surette basks in the limelight of knowing that he has received much attention and kudos from his peers within the media circle. Unfortunately, somethings will never change about this whole dilemma. There will always be violence against women and opportunists like Mr. Surette will always have a forum to espouse his venom.

  3. Fairfield 2001 Alum says:

    Where in Mr. Sutette’s “He Said” column did he provide an opinion of supporting violence against women? No were in his satirical column did he mention anything regarding phyically harming a women. Yes maybe some mental harm in that the women has to remember she has sex with someone who many not be the best looker and probably would win a contest for not being able to see his d!@k when looking straight down. In the end the “He/She Said” column is a comical column and should be viewed that way. People have enough things to be serious about today, recession, job loss, increasing tuition, etc lets just be able to read a column which is meant to be entertainment and not journalism.

    • technicolorsheep says:

      The question I would have, then, is: Why is it that you seem to find the idea of degrading women (real or imagined) entertaining? Or did I misunderstand you there?

  4. handsome bastard says:

    I find it hard to believe that either of the two trolls who provided the pathetically immature commentary have any experience from which to draw.

  5. Doreen, 47 and been there! says:

    Simmer down kids…it is really just a light hearted look at something we all know goes on. Take it for what it’s worth, laugh at it, don’t laugh at it.

  6. Your name says:

    Tom, as Editor in Chief, you should take responsibility for allowing this piece to be printed. You should resign. In fact, I’ve lost all respect for the Mirror and will boycott it from now on. It’s utter garbage. Chris should be fired. May I ask who pays for the printing of the Mirror? I don’t believe you make enough money off ads to pay for the printing.

    • Tom Cleary says:

      Just to clarify for “Your Name,” The Mirror is funded both through ad sales and a subscription contract with the University. The University pays us so that the papers can be distributed freely across campus, but assumes no control over the oversight or content of The Mirror.


      Tom Cleary

  7. Respectfully says:

    Both of these HeSaid/SheSaid commentaries – satirical, stereotypical, whatever you want to label them as so people will giggle and gawk instead of thinking how wrong this frame of mind is – still perpetuate the social stygma that the woman is the one who should feel shame in her actions while the man should feel conquest. How can this change while supposedly intelligent people continue to be write against the human race under the veil of satire? Shame should be felt by both parties who participate in a meaningless, emotionless misuse of another human being for their own selfish pleasure. People must respect each other in order to heal this world.

  8. Your name says:

    the attacks here should not be made on Chris Surette. Granted, he may be a great guy outside of the paper, but all we are asking for is a nicer choice of words. I look to the He Said section to laugh, but these have lately only been offensive and derogatory towards women. There’s nothing wrong with a little humour, but at least try to make it tasteful! I love The Mirror as a newspaper, but would love to see more sensitivity toward women- we are not just pieces of meat to be “pounded.”
    So no offense to Chris or The Mirror… just the way the He Said column is written.

  9. your name says:

    So the the University buys the contract – who oversees these contracts? I believe if the University is using university funds to have a contract with a publication that promotes violence, then the University should be at fault for allowing this occur. Shame on the University. We should protest this to the fullest extent.

  10. your name says:

    There was no mention of violence against women in this article. It was simply about things that happen every weekend. Hookups happen and guys describe it using degrading terms. It is a truth. It happens. Grow up. Just because the words are a bit extreme, does not mean that the author is talking about rape or violence.

  11. susan goldstein says:

    I was recently on a college tour with my daughter at Providence College and we were encouraged to pick up the student newspaper “as is tells alot about the students and the school”. If I had picked up the Mirror while on a tour of Fairfield and read the He Said artlicle I would have been horrified. Does everyone know it’s supposed to be funny? I hope Fairfield does not encourage prospective students to pick up the Mirror.

  12. CLEARY, LISTEN says:

    The real problem here is clearly the editor. Where is the accountability? Does the editor not think it is obvious that he is worried about getting blamed for all of this backlash? Do not try to tell us that this is a satirical, role-playing character. Not only does this article have the He Said authors name, but it also has his picture. Furthermore, in a previous article from September he mentions that freshmen girls are invited to his beach house, and I believe he even tells us it is called the Zoo.
    This is a character? Give me a break. And editor, you aren’t fooling anyone. The joke is on The Mirror, no more trash, please.
    PARENTS WILL READ THIS, PERSPECTIVE STUDENTS WILL READ THIS, WHAT ARE YOU DOING TO THIS JESUIT SCHOOL? This is an embarrassment, not some great, sensationalized piece; stop pleading the 1st amendment, because you wouldn’t allow racist comments, so sexist comments also DO NOT BELONG.

  13. Anonymous2009 says:

    If you really need to blame someone for using their freedom of speech and making a satirized, yet degrading, male voice than blame Dan Stanczyk – he started it in ’08

  14. your name says:

    I think we should boycott the paper, stop trying to be entertained by humor, and burn all books that are seen as contoversial. Censorship is clearly the way to go…

    We should censor everything and treat everyone as if we are all 5th graders. C’mon all you people complaining are pathetic.

    Please see the sarcasm in the first few statements… we are adults here and should be able to handle hearing real life issues without trying to censor them.

    Have a little more faith in your friends, children, and fellow students… people who read this article are not going to take this as a way of life. Most people are not so short sighted to miss that this article is clearly a humor piece aimed at making fun of a chauvinistic male view. Get over it!

    • technicolorsheep says:

      Voicing discontent with or disapproval of an angle in a newspaper column is not, I repeat: not, the same as censorship. It is, in fact, exactly that which you purport to defend: Free speech.

      And as far as I know it is my right to say that I disagree with the slant of the article and find its stance on women, men and sexual relationships disgusting.

      Asking for accountability is not the same as crying ‘burn that book’. Let the Mirror print things like that, by all means, but then let them own up for it as well.

  15. your name says:

    Tom and others,
    You make the point that it is meant to be satirical. Others make the point that it doesn’t explicitly talk about rape. However, my personal opinion is that the language is unacceptable. Words like “victim” and “slam pig” are as offensive to me as the n-word is to people of color or calling a homosexual a fagot. Would you print either of those words? Probably not.
    Saying women who have one night stands have been “robbed of their dignity” or are “sluts” is just not ok. Racism and homophobia have yet to land a spot in your paper. Why should sexism?
    I have no problem with Chris or anyone on the mirror. I just don’t think that this is acceptable journalism and I don’t want it at my school. No matter how many times you say your not directly affiliated with the university it doesn’t change the fact that you still represent our community.
    Thanks, Protester Chick

  16. Mrs. M says:

    To the Fairfield Mirror editor:
    The “He Said” column on Oct 1 is in poor taste. This is “satirical column” is not witty journalism. It’s degrading, and adds further insult to those women who have fallen victim to the horrible crime of rape. Shame on you for publishing this. As a Fairfield parent, I will be surprised and disappointed if the University administration does not take action. I aoplaud the students who are taking a stand against this.

  17. JL says:

    Satire and irony both require a “distancing effect” in which the reader can see that a certain discourse is “being played upon” by the writer. There was none of this in the piece. Either it wasn’t satire or it is REALLY BAD WRITING. But in no way can the defense, “it’s satire,” work without acknowledging the fact that the joke fell horribly flat. Is the Editor willing to say: it was horrible writing, and I am at fault for letting it be published?

  18. MoJo says:

    This column was was just plain rude and crude. I would expect better from a Jesuit institution. While we have a right to free speech, we also have an obligation to be respectful towards each other. The only shame I see is that this column was published.

  19. it's about clarity and class says:

    As JL says, “the joke fell flat”
    It WAS bad writing, and it was NOT clear that it was supposed to be humorous, it seemed too sad to be funny. And the tasteless language didn’t help.
    I believe Chris has the right to write what he wants, and the Mirror has the right to print it. I’m not arguing that.
    But the Mirror and the author of every article should be aware of their responsibility to be clear about what’s to be taken as face value, and what is meant to be humorous. If this is obfuscated, they need to realize that it could easily be taken the wrong way.
    I think it should be the duty of the editor to guide writers to make sure the intention of the column is maintained.
    This article, in it’s intended context, might not have been interpreted quite as offensively.
    The Onion AND Maxim somehow manage to be more classy than this!
    AND managed to even get humor nailed too!

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  21. Ed Kuryluk says:

    Since your site does not allow trackbacks, I thought I would let you know that this post has been referenced at http://heyfairfield.com/2009/10/27/yes-fairfield-is-a-college-town-but-is-that-a-good-thing/

  22. Steve-O says:

    “I would like to state that as a classmate and friend of Chris, that he is not the same person as he is in his column in his day-to-day life.”

    Nice to know the writer isn’t genuine or honest in his writing.

    Also, you guys still publish a paper? You guys still using COPRESS?pshhh

  23. Linnea says:

    I am saddened to see that the editor of this paper also doesn’t know what “satire” means.

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