The Columbia Daily Spectator student newspaper will no longer provide comment sections for articles dealing with sexual assault.
Columns dealing with the topic dating back to May of last year also will have their comment sections closed.
We value the many comments readers have on our stories. When done thoughtfully, comments can further conversations in ways that add insights and provide new perspectives to our stories. Moreover, comments are the most direct way for readers to give feedback to Spectator, which is central to our ongoing goal to improve our coverage.
However, the comments on our opinion pieces related to sexual assault have not been used for these purposes. Instead, anonymous commenters and internet trolls have used this space to spread hate, vitriol, and ad hominem attacks on writers and members of our community rather than offering commentary on the content of the piece or on the complex issue of how to address sexual assault on our campus.
Surprisingly, the comments are open at the Spectrum article, and there’s plenty of folks letting the Spectator know how they feel about the new policy.