EDITORIAL: Why we (probably) will not take your article down


Genevieve Guenther

The Seahawk Editorial Board

The Seahawk has recently added a clause to our constitution that handles the issue of takedown requests from former writers or contributors. In short, we hold our writers’ words in high regard. If an article makes it into the paper or onto our site, it is with the understanding that the thoughts and feelings expressed within are that of the writer.

“According to Article III of The Seahawk Constitution, this news organization’s purpose is to ‘foster professionalism, integrity, and a code of ethics based on the First Amendment and professional journalistic practices.’ Therefore, it is expected of any content producer to be held responsible for their work,” the clause reads.

We are aware that people and their thoughts or feelings can change over time, but the responsibility of putting forth one’s new ideals belongs to the writer—not The Seahawk.

That being said, we also understand that despite our country’s positive stance on free speech and freedom of press, there is potential that former writers’ published work could hold them back from employment opportunities after college. We do not believe that this is a fair practice, but it is one that we are cognizant of.

For this reason, Article XVII does allow for some wiggle room in regard to our general rejection of takedown requests.

“Taking down a published piece of content will only be considered within seven years of the original publication date,” the clause reads.

This number was chosen because, assuming the article was written by a freshman at UNC Wilmington, this would give the writer three years of leeway post-graduation to discover any consequences relating to their past work.

While we believed that anything less might not be enough time, we also stand firm that any time past that would be unreasonable. It is also important to note that, though we have established a clear procedure for considering takedown requests, any former writers hoping to take advantage of this procedure would need an extremely valid reason in order for us to follow through.

We want to be clear: The Seahawk only posts articles that we intend to keep online.

Any formal takedown request must be written and delivered either physically or over e-mail to the Editor in Chief of the current standing year. Spoken requests will be noted, but they do not hold the weight of a written request.

The Seahawk strives to be an honest organization, and we try to keep the writers in mind as much as the readers. Above all else, however, we will keep our integrity in mind, and we hope that all of our writers, past or present, understand this.

Thank you.