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Monday, March 4, 2024

Editorial: Column controversy

The California Aggie has formally retracted Tiffany Lew’s Jan. 22 column, “The Rise of the Girly Men.” The column made multiple insensitive comments, offending a significant portion of the UC Davis community.

We understand that, but some critics were too quick to assume one person’s opinion column could be reflective of everyone and everything associated with The Aggie.

Readers have called Lew’s column homophobic, heterosexist, transphobic and racist. Many of the accusations are justifiable for this column, but do not apply to The Aggie’s body of work as a whole.

In fact, our coverage is quite the opposite.

The Aggie did a story on the Queer Leadership Retreat just last week. We covered the Davis is Burning Drag Show, just like we do every year. We covered the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Resource Center’s Pride Week in October.

We did a story on a study that showed gays and lesbians typically have the same relationship values as straight men and women in October. We did another when Afsaneh Najmabadi, a visiting Iranian scholar, came to UC Davis to discuss gender and sexuality issues. We also wrote an editorial last winter opposing the planned closure of the Gender Education program.

Some of our opinion columnists are addressing these same issues. Haley Davis discussed transphobia in the feminist community on Dec. 3. She called Lady Gaga a feminist icon on Jan. 7. Mario Lugo, meanwhile, recently wrote about his personal experiences dealing with the homophobia he experienced throughout high school.

We’re not trying to justify the column, but it’s disappointing that the views of one writer have caused readers to lose sight of the overall direction of our coverage. Everyone – including Lew, even though her thoughts are in no way representative of The Aggie – is entitled to their opinion. These blanket criticisms, however, are unfounded and difficult to justify.

This unfortunate controversy has, at the very least, brought attention to the struggles that many members of our on-campus community strive to overcome on a daily basis. If you feel underrepresented by The Aggie, by all means, please contact us so we can continue writing articles about such issues.


  1. @optimus This is a public institution. Lew’s article was not controversial: it was simply racist, sexist and homophobic. It claimed false accusations about a specific race, gender and ethnicity. It’s fine if the information she presented had facts to back up her statement. For an example, do I have the right to post an article saying that gays are less human? The answer is absolutely not: although you have the right to free speech, such articles should never be posted on a public newspaper, yet alone…submitted. (i don’t have anything against gays, merely and example)

  2. I disagree: personally, I’d be saddened to attend a university that didn’t have any dissenting viewpoints. I think Lew is perfectly within her rights to harbor or even espouse unpopular opinions without the threat of “academic discipline” being held over her head. (After all, wasn’t there a front-page piece in the Cal Aggie proclaiming the evils of UC-wide censorship? Do I sense a double standard here?) However, it remains a mystery to me (and many others) as to how the Cal Aggie can so flippantly deflect all blame onto one person, when in actuality many people were involved.


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