Diversity + Inclusion director leaves after lengthy human rights investigation

Tiana Woodard

There’s no better way to put it — I’m burnt out. I’ve spent five semesters at The Daily Texan, and I never thought writing my 30 column would bring no tears.

My decision to try out for Life&Arts two years ago led to lifelong friendships and limitless opportunities. I met so many inspiring characters, I discovered my love for narrative storytelling and I even added a journalism major too far down the line.

Thank you Forrest for spending hours in the basement and Flightpath two years ago to make a Diversity + Inclusion Board happen. I can’t thank you enough for seeing potential in me that I still can’t see myself.

Thank you María for breaking the ice on this initiative from the beginning. I hope that Forrest, Lisa and I could help in building on the task that you were handed alone that semester.

Thank you Lisa for listening. You took me to get boba, you showed me the only food I can make on my own and you listened to my tears when I felt this paper was against me.

This semester’s management team always swooped in to take on extra when I was at my breaking point. I can’t thank y’all enough.

Thank you everyone on the Board — Meghan, Divya, Lauren and Angelica and everyone who’s been a part of it and who will be — for wanting to change this paper when it hasn’t tried to change for you. I hope that I made you feel heard.

Thank you Faith for sharing so many looks of judgement with me from across the Larts-Video cubicle. I probably would’ve left earlier if you weren’t here.

Thank you Brooke for being the mom that I needed here. Thank you Trinady and Brooke both for doing everything for Larts that I never could.

Thank you Kirsten for coming to me four semesters ago and introducing yourself when I felt like everything was falling apart.

This inch count doesn’t give me enough room to thank everyone — there are many more.

But I’m going to be frank. I knew there were and still are people here who don’t see a need in what we’re trying to do. I knew there were and still are people who feel that I’m too critical of this paper. I know my blackness makes every step toward progress seem aggressive, so I won’t stay silent.

The Daily Texan isn’t systemically ready for the diversity and inclusion I and many others in this space want to see. Producing a daily paper goes before any diversity and inclusion when it should be the opposite. Its managing editor and editor-in-chief structure needs amending.

I only rip this system apart because I care. I can’t stand to see anyone a year or a decade down the line struggle with the same dilemmas every time they step into that basement.