Editorial: A Year With The Hilltopper

The Hilltopper will always seek to serve the student body of Saint Anselm College by presenting respectful dialogue and factual reporting on issues and topics relevant to our community. We strive to be an unbiased and accurate news source for our fellow Anselmians, and in all instances, we will respect the dignity of individuals, and include marginalized voices. This has been our mission since we were founded in 2018, and it will continue to be our mission moving forward.

A year ago today, on April 10, 2019, I became the Editor In Chief of The Hilltopper. I was excited by the opportunity to pursue truth, investigate conflict, and report on the issues that matter to Saint Anselm College students. Since that time, however, Saint Anselm College and The Hilltopper have changed a great deal. I never could’ve imagined that we would be interviewing Abbott Mark and President Favazza about a legal battle between the Abbey Church and the Board of Trustees. I never could’ve imagined that we would report on the impeachment of President Trump. I never thought we would partner with The Saint Anselm Crier to host a debate, and I never could’ve imagined that our time on campus this year would be cut so short. 

However, for The Hilltopper, perhaps the biggest change of all was our organization. For the first two years, The Hilltopper functioned mainly through its editors. Megan Miller ‘19 and Nick Fulchino ‘19 diligently worked to ensure that there was a steady stream of articles being published and that there was a viable platform for students to express their opinions and concerns. Starting in September, The Hilltopper was no longer entirely reliant upon the editor. The positions of Chief of Staff, Administrative Correspondent, On Campus News Coordinator, and Off-Campus News Coordinator were established with the hopes of increasing student participation and article output. In December, we expanded again, this time creating the positions of Student Government Correspondent, Communications Coordinator, and Director of Finance. By the start of the second semester, The Hilltopper had something it has never had before – an Executive Board. This team of student leaders met many times over the course of the year (and continues to meet) to discuss campus and community news, programming and partnerships with other clubs and organizations, and the future of The Hilltopper. The Executive Board has played an integral role in the operation of The Hilltopper, and it has given us a framework for the future. 

In addition to the nearly forty articles written both by our staff and student contributors, The Hilltopper partnered with local organizations as well as Saint Anselm clubs to support our community and students. In November, we were one of many groups at Saint A’s that volunteered for The Manchester Marathon to support Veterans Count, an organization that supports military veterans and their families. In February, we partnered with The Saint Anselm Crier to host the first-ever Student Body Candidate Forum. In April, we had planned to support T.E.D.A (the True Equality and Dignity Alliance) at their annual Visibility Day celebration. 

In looking to the future, I am optimistic. We will continue to support our fellow Anselmians and provide our college community with unbiased and accurate news. We will continue to respect the dignity of individuals, include marginalized voices, and support every student’s right to express their beliefs. We will continue to be a part of the Anselmian community for many years to come. Moving forward, we will need your help. If you’re interested in writing for The Hilltopper, you can contact us on our website (hilltopper.org) and through our social media (Instagram and Facebook: @thehilltopper, Twitter: Hilltopper_News). If you would like to financially support The Hilltopper and ensure that we can continue our mission, please email Renee Suhocki, our Director of Finance (rsuhocki338@anselm.edu). 

Finally, I want to say thank you to our readers, our writers, our supporters, our partners, and our fellow Anselmians; The Hilltopper would not exist without you. Special thanks to President Joseph Favazza, Abbott Mark Cooper, The Saint Anselm Crier, and The Student Government Association.

We’re The Hilltopper, and we’re here to stay.

Student Wants to Know “Why You so Obsessed with Me?”

A second-semester freshman student complained today that one of her classmates is “so obsessed” with her. The student, Hillary Topper ‘22, said that ever since arriving in her journalism class, Annie Crier ‘19 has been overly focused on what she’s doing.

“It’s really the weirdest thing,” she complained. “I just showed up here ready to contribute to my journalism class. I’ve worked really hard. I do all my research, I go out of my way to do the best work I can, and yet, Annie is always breathing down my neck.”

When asked to corroborate her accusations with more specific anecdotes, Topper had a list of things to share. “A few weeks ago, I decided to start trying to talk more in class, so I would sometimes make witty jokes to prove my point. Annie was pretty quiet all year, but the second I started making jokes – she did, too!”

Other students in the class agreed with Topper’s version of events. “Look, Annie Crier’s a cool girl. I’ve had a lot of classes with her because she’s a senior, and she’s ya know – she’s always there. She’s a dependable friend. But I mean Hillary Topper is just great! She brought all this new energy to campus, and I mean her jokes are hysterical. She’s not trying to impress anyone, she’s just doing her thing. Then, Annie started making jokes and well, they’re just kind of awkward.”

The obsession has moved beyond personality and into school work, Topper reported. “The other day I handed in a reflection on what I’ve learned this year. The next day, Annie had her own reflection on the same topic. It’s just so weird to me.”

Perhaps most frustrating for Topper is the fact that Crier remains the teacher’s pet. “All I’m saying is I have every right to be in this class, and yet, it seems like my professor keeps favoriting Annie. They don’t even read the papers I turn in.” Topper explained that when she goes to get help from faculty, administration, and even fellow students, they shut the door in her face (sometimes literally!)

“I just don’t understand why we can’t get along,” complained Topper. “Campus is big enough for us both.”

Annie Crier ‘19 did not respond to our requests to comment.

#WhyIWrite: Jackson Peck

I first became politically active in my first few years of high school. The 2016 presidential election was in full swing and my news feed was full of advertisements, slogans, soundbites, and articles about the candidates. One of the videos I watched was an advertisement for Senator Bernie Sanders’ campaign in which he said: “Our job is not to divide, our job is to bring people together.” This statement, to me, was incredible. It seemed every heart and voice in America was asking “why is it that we’re so divided?” or “why can’t we compromise?” and there was an independent senator from a small rural state telling me that the best thing we could do as citizens and as people was to stick together.

This moment is why I write. In each position, classroom, and workplace, I keep in mind the phrase “Our job is not to divide, our job is to bring people together.” Collaboration and cooperation among citizens is the hallmark of our society and the ability of those citizens to be informed and educated is of the utmost importance. Perhaps one of the greatest liberties given to us in this country is the freedom of the press, and it is with a free press that we are able to monitor and hold accountable those who lead us.

When I was approached and asked to begin working for The Hilltopper, I was excited by the opportunity to pursue truth, investigate conflict, and report on the issues that matter to Saint Anselm College students. The Hilltopper was founded as an independent news source tasked with bringing uncensored and up-to-date information to students about issues happening on campus. It is for that reason that I am so excited to be joining this team. The Saint A’s community is strong, but our strength relies on our ability to understand what is going on around us. An informed student body who discusses issues is the best thing that can be afforded to a liberal arts school, and I am proud to write for an organization which does just that.

The Hilltopper is focused on dignity, inclusivity, and transparency. There is no better mission for an organization charged with such a valuable task, and my belief in the power of communication is what has drawn me here. Our job is not to divide, our job is to bring people together. If we can do that accurately, effectively, and honestly than we will all benefit. This is why I write.

Editorial: Here to Stay

This past year has been a privilege and an honor. When we began The Hilltopper last April, it was specifically in response to frustration with a platform that enabled and empowered rape culture but our launch was driven by many larger forces.

The day we bought the website, we could not have anticipated all that we would cover in the next year. We didn’t know we would report on discrimination against the Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus because of his sexuality. We really never thought we would quote a monk saying “What the fuck?” We didn’t know we would be the space to publish the words of TEDA president Matt Solomon ‘20, after trans* and gay pride flags were removed from campus in a seemingly discriminatory way. We never could have guessed that we would have to investigate the layoffs of 13 staff of the college or claims of Title IX violations.

On our one-year anniversary, we want to take a few moments to address that original frustration that led us to where we are, but first we want to acknowledge one truth: the work is not done. We’ve received many questions, some well-intentioned and some hopeful of our demise, about what will happen when the Editors-in-Chief of The Hilltopper graduate. Here’s our answer: we are here to stay.

For the last year,  we have received overwhelmingly positive feedback, and we want to extend an explicit and gracious thank you for this support. It has reassured us that our mission is necessary and valuable on campus. We also want to address the feedback that has not been as positive.

When we receive negative feedback, it is typically from people who believe that our work will cause harm, most frequently to their personal reputation. People seem to be worried that their name will be next in the spotlight. Additionally, people in perceived positions of authority frequently refuse to comment, specifically when they have titles such as “dean,” “chief,” or “director” in front of their names. We are worried that people have forgotten, or are ignoring, the value of receiving news from multiple sources.

In an era of fake news, we are committed to reporting reality and giving a voice to people and issues that are continually silenced. For that reason, we will not allow our students, faculty, and staff to forget the value of engaging with multiple sources of information. We especially believe that, being at a somewhat prestigious institution, it is important to work outside the often rigid structures. Additionally, we protect the right to work outside of an institution that is controlled by the Catholic Church, especially considering the moral crises within the Church. These beliefs enable us to bring the best possible news coverage to our readers.

Providing the best possible news coverage means adhering to our core values, one of which is inclusivity. We began The Hilltopper with a mission reduced to two simple words “for everyone.” We have covered numerous stories that affect students who are often silenced or ignored by our college’s administration. We are proud of each of those stories. It is our responsibility as a campus news source to be inclusive, but we are also committed to respecting the dignity of the individual. That is why we have chosen to embrace the Paradox of Tolerance. It is the idea that in order to create a truly tolerant society (or campus), we must be intolerant of intolerance. The Hilltopper is not a place for hate speech or for those beliefs that invalidate the dignity of life.

Yet, we recognize that writing about inclusivity is only one part of the equation, and we recognize the myriad privileges based on our social identities that have allowed us to create The Hilltopper and speak out in the way that we do. Going forward, we hope to see the staff of the paper grow to include students of color, students in the LGBTQ+ community, international students, and students with other diverse identities. We trust that our new Editor-in-Chief, Jackson Peck ‘22, will do all he can to make sure that The Hilltopper lives up to that ideal.

We have found that living up to this ideal is best achieved outside the expectations of the institution, and that is why we continue to work as an independent news source. It is humbling that numerous people have felt safe coming to us to share their truths with the broader campus community and, really, the world. Because of these brave people, we have been able to provide valuable insight into issues like the Grand Knight’s removal, the summer layoffs, and discrimination faced by the LGBTQ+ community. It is no coincidence, we believe, that these people have felt safe coming to us – an independent news source beholden to no one and no thing besides the mission statement we wrote more than a year ago.

When writing that mission statement, we did so with the intention of bringing transparency to this institution. In the spirit of James Baldwin, we insist on the right to criticize Saint Anselm College perpetually precisely because we love it more than any other academic institution in the world. Critiquing the institution that educates you, whether it be Saint Anselm College or the Catholic Church, is not a bad thing.

Moving forward, we need you. We are proud of what we have been able to build, but there is still a lot of work left to do. If you are interested in writing for The Hilltopper, please reach out to Jackson Peck ‘22 (jpeck339@anselm.edu). If you would like to be a financial supporter of The Hilltopper and ensure its continuation for years to come, please contact Nick Fulchino ‘19 (nfulchino@anselm.edu).

Above all, we want to say thank you. To our readers, our donors, our writers, our supporters. We would not exist without you; we exist for you. Thank you for trusting us as your news source. We’re The Hilltopper, and we’re here to stay.