Response to Concerns Regarding the November issue of Canons
RESPONSE from Aaron Duong
I’m writing this statement as a general response to an article I wrote in last month’s issue of Canons of Construction. The piece that I wrote was intended to be satirical. It wasn’t about anyone in particular and I had no intention for it to be read in that light.
Someone reached out to me directly about the article and explained why she felt the way she did. She explained that I could never understand how she felt or how she had struggled, and I will freely admit that I don’t. Her criticisms are fair. She opened up some perspectives to me that I had never contemplated, and certainly none that I had in mind when writing the article. There is a larger arena of concern for women and the issues that women face in law and in life, and the way I wrote came across as very insensitive to those issues.
I respect women, and I don’t like the fact that women face many invisible hoops and walls and ceilings that I will never have to face.
Satire is a vehicle for dialogue; for people to take a deep, hard look, internally and externally, at some of the nastier things that permeate around us. I’m not claiming I’m good at satire (in fact, the responses that have been expressed means I’m probably pretty terrible at it). But that doesn’t change the fact that a made-up character who personifies little bits and pieces of many of us – myself included- opened up a dialogue. It has sparked a great deal of talk about issues that people genuinely feel strongly about.
Fittingly, the mirror provided by my own satire and the feedback I’ve received for it has forced me to take a deep, hard look at myself. It’s opened my eyes to some stereotypes and biases that I’m not proud to say make up some of my own thought process. I want to change those. Although I intended my satire to be sharp and to raise questions, I never wrote with the intention to hurt others. For those I have upset with my words, I sincerely apologize.
- Aaron Duong
RESPONSE from Canons of Construction’s Editors-in-Chief
When we first received the article, it was our understanding that it was a work of fiction and not directed at any individual in particular. It was intended to be humorous. It was never our intention to publish anything that would hurt someone. For anyone who felt personally attacked by this article, we sincerely apologize. That was certainly never our intention or the writer’s intention.
Since then, it has come to our attention that some people felt personally targeted. We failed to anticipate this and for that we apologize. Had we known that individuals would feel personally targeted, we would not have published the article. In light of this, we have decided to remove the article from our website.
Thank you to everyone who has emailed us about this. We read everything that was sent to us. We take the complaints we have received very seriously, and we understand the concerns expressed.
It is our mandate to publish articles written by law students, and we plan to publish the letters we received, with permission from the writers, in our upcoming issue. We would also like to extend an invitation to any law students who wish to speak to the Editors-in-Chief personally on this issue. Please feel free to personally contact us.
We are grateful to everyone who has reached out to us. After discussion with the Vice-Dean, we agree that a Town Hall meeting is the best forum for people to have their voices heard. It is our sincere hope that this will allow us to come together and move forward constructively.
Hailee Barber, Paula Cooper, and Karsten Erzinger
Canons of Construction Editors-in-Chief