Letter from the Editors: Clarifying “sugaring” articles published Sept. 26

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As student journalists, we here at The Hullabaloo have dedicated ourselves to reporting the stories of the Tulane community to the best of our abilities, even when the nature of these truths can be shocking and upsetting to some.  

In light of the breadth and nature of the feedback The Hullabaloo has received in response to our articles “Sugar daddy website sets up sweet arrangements for students” and “Decadent dining spots for you and your sugar daddy” published in the Sept. 26 edition of our paper, we are releasing this Letter from the Editors in the hopes of clarifying our intentions and holding ourselves accountable to our readers.

When the news article “Sugar daddy website sets up sweet arrangements for students” was written, the story was constructed neither to promote nor to condemn the practice of sugaring. Instead, the article sought to bring light to a phenomenon occurring in the Tulane community and answer the question of why some students may choose to engage in sugaring.

The writing and research process of the story stretched over the course of a month, with several experts and student sugar babies reached out to for comment. Rather than balancing the pros and cons of sugaring as a means of gaining money, the article answered the primary “whats” and “whys” of the matter. We ultimately stand by the article that was written because we believe it was thoroughly researched and neutrally written.

Coupled with the Arcade section story “Decadent dining spots for you and your sugar daddy,” however, we acknowledge that the pairing of the two articles created a light-hearted tone to a more serious topic that can come with real-world consequences. The Arcade story was not intended to promote sugaring and was done as a supplement to our themed issue. We also recognize that, while the news piece was intended to be neutral, running it in conjunction with the Arcade story may have changed that perception, and could be interpreted as an endorsement of sugaring. Certain editorial decisions, such as the headlines chosen, may also have impacted the perceived tone of the article.

When reporting on the New Orleans sex industry in the past, The Hullabaloo has spoken extensively about the dangers of sex trafficking and the resources available to victims of this heinous crime. To equate sugaring and other forms of sex work inherently with sex trafficking, however, is problematic because it creates a biased narrative in which all sex workers are framed as unconsenting victims. This piece does not seek take a moral or opinionated stance on sugaring within the Tulane community, and instead brings light to a form of work that many students willingly engage in on Tulane’s campus, and across the nation.

It is our mission to provide balanced coverage by and for the Tulane community. In order to do so, we must extend the narrative beyond the critiques of sex workers and instead challenge the narratives surrounding these topics, as well as diligently cover the dangers present in this practice.

The online comments, posts and verbal conversations you have engaged us in have lead to a larger discussion amongst our editors about the role of our audience in shaping our content. Ultimately, the Hullabaloo would be nothing without the feedback of our readers. Community-based journalism thrives and is built on the needs and stories of our community and we welcome the criticism and dialogue that has emerged from these two stories.

We thank you for reading, sharing and critiquing and hope to continue the dialogue surrounding our content in issues to the come.

Best,

Canela López                                     Taylor DeMulling

Editor-in-Chief                                  Managing Editor

They, Them, Theirs                           She, Her, Hers

There are many resources available for victims of abuse, including the National Sexual Assault Hotline (1-800-656-4673) and Safe Horizon Hotline for domestic violence (1-800-621-4673). Students who feel forced into sugaring due to financial constraints can contact the Tulane University Financial Aid Office (504-865-5723).