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Why are we doing this?

The Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. has a duty to report on the Penn community accurately and responsibly. To do this, the DP must have a staff and board that represent people from a variety of backgrounds. As one of the largest organizations on campus, we want to build an environment where everyone feels comfortable. 

The 135th board of editors and managers is committed to maintaining and building upon prior progress concerning diversity in the organization. This is our third time surveying the demographics of our community, and our second time publishing an editorial with our findings. 

Spring 2019 demographic data

Note: We allowed students to check as many options for race as were applicable, which is why the sum of our percentages is above 100%

In Penn’s data, international students are placed in a category separate from other races. This excludes 1,339 undergraduates from the University’s racial breakdown. In addition, because Penn only counts one race per student (unless they select “two or more races,” a separate category), international and multiracial students are not accurately counted.

Our staff and board members are still disproportionately white and Asian compared with Penn’s undergraduate population. The percentage of respondents who identified as Asian in the 2018 survey was 8 percentage points lower than that of the 2019 survey. Additionally, the percentage of respondents who identified as white in the 2018 survey was roughly 6 percentage points higher than that of the 2019 survey.

Black and Hispanic/Latinx students are still underrepresented at the DP as compared with Penn's undergraduate population, and both groups have a lower percentage of students working at the DP when compared to last spring's data. At the board level, the percentage of black students increased but the percentage of Hispanic/Latinx students decreased.

Unlike many news organizations, the DP does not currently lack women on staff or in leadership. While Penn’s undergraduate population is roughly 52% women, 63% of staff respondents and 60% of board respondents identify as female. Additionally, our top three leadership positions — President, Executive Editor, and Business Manager — are held by women. 

We are proud that the DP has made progress in gender diversity over the years, but that doesn't mean that the company is a wholly inclusive space for women, or that we're going to stop working to ensure that it becomes one.

While Penn releases the percentage of admitted students who identify as first-generation or low-income, the University does not publicly release data on the percentage of current undergraduate students who identify as FGLI. For that reason, we are not able to determine how representative the DP is of the student body in this regard.

There is a still a disparity between the percentage of FGLI and low-income students between our board and staff. But compared to last year's survey, the percentage of FGLI and low-income students has increased. 

What are we doing about it?

We plan to continue measuring the demographics of our organization and to share that information with our readers.

Our demographics survey this semester had a response rate of approximately 60%, whereas our survey from last spring received responses from 80% of staffers. It is important that our results be the most representative sample of our organization, and increasing the response rate will continue to be a priority in the coming semesters.

Our President and Executive Editor correspond regularly with leaders from underrepresented groups to discuss our diversity efforts, and will continue to do so. We also opened up the opportunity to join the Diversity Committee to staffers. We have an ongoing goal of increasing the amount of staffers present at meetings, as we must incorporate their experiences and opinions in our conversations about diversity. 

As an independent student media organization, the DP is shaped largely by its elected student leaders. We hope to increase the diversity of the board and ensure that current leaders are aware of our diversity goals. 

To achieve this, we introduced mandatory diversity and sensitivity training for all board applicants. Additionally, our Multimedia department held its own specialized diversity training. We plan to offer more avenues for our community to learn new strategies and methods for implementing the values of diversity and inclusivity in their daily work for the DP.

We still experience a disparity between our staff and board members who identify as FGLI. This may be due to the significant time commitment required to be in a leadership position at the DP, which does not pay. We recently expanded a scholarship that grants stipends to those who dedicate a significant amount of time to the DP. While this stipend was previously only open to board members who qualify for financial aid, it now is open to staffers as well. We hope that this policy change will enable students who depend on work-study or other sources of income to make a greater time commitment to the DP, including running for and holding leadership positions.

We mentioned in last year’s diversity report that we were working with alumni to establish a scholarship to help students from underrepresented identities at the DP secure media internships over the summer. We have made solid progress on this goal, and are on track to raise enough funding to start offering stipends for summer 2020. 

We understand our diversity initiatives require dedication from student leadership as well as openness to criticism and suggestions from the wider Penn community. We want to hear from you about how we can continue to make the DP a more inclusive and diverse place. If you have thoughts, suggestions, or questions, please email us at 

Additional data

We collected a range of demographic information from our staff and board. The graphs embedded throughout the editorial, as well as the following graphs, reflect all of the questions on our survey.

Penn does not collect data on sexual orientation, religion, or disability, so there are no available points of comparison for these categories. Our data is included in full below.