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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Letters to the editor: In response to Union Secretary Resigns over E-Board Policies

Published: November 9, 2007
Section: Opinions

Dear Editor,

I never thought I would say this, but The Hoot has hit a new low. The utter ridiculousness of Union Secretary Resigns over E-Board Policies, (Nov. 2) by David Pepose is an outright journalistic travesty. Essentially, The Hoot published Goldmans inflammatory opinions and descriptions of internal Union discussions as news (and thus, as fact) without context, research, investigation, response, or actual reporting. This article features nine paragraphs, of which Mr. Pepose actually wrote three sentences. After that, the rest of the story is entirely composed of paragraph-long quotations from Mr. Goldman. The only words from Pepose are such connecting phrases as Goldman stated, and there are at least two examples of grammatical errors and a lack of proper punctuation in Pepose's small contribution. Pepose allows Goldman to express his opinions under the guise of news, and this is entirely unacceptable from any publication that claims to be a newspaper.

One would assume that Pepose, as The Hoots News Editor, would understand basic journalistic principles of reporting. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Lets start with the fact that Pepose did not allow anyone to respond to Goldmans accusations. Anyone who has been accused of anything, and is accessible to the reporter, has the right to respond, and as a journalist, you must give them the chance to do so, and explain why such a response is not included if they refuse the opportunity.

Furthermore, Goldman makes claims that are unsubstantiated and provided without context. He decries a Union initiative called Diversity Day, yet Pepose only uses Goldmans words to discuss what such a day would include and what faculty and administration response has been. He apparently did not directly ask faculty or administration members for their opinion, discuss the status of such a day, what the positives or negatives of such a day would be, or provide answers to any of the numerous questions such a statement provokes. He also allows Goldman to claim that lawyers have declared the position of Senator for Racial Minority Students to be illegal. If this is true, this is a significant story that has major repercussions for Brandeiss Student Union, and merits at the very least its own story.

Unfortunately, the contents of Goldmans tirade are much more disturbing than these journalistic issues. In it, he dismisses concerns about race, diversity, and racial minorities at Brandeis as a matter of political correctness. Regardless of whether Union initiatives are effective at dealing with such concerns, race is a significant issue at Brandeis. To deny the existence of race (which Goldman does by saying that Sinha and treasurer Choon Woo Ha are non-white, if you choose to believe in those designations,) is to deny the validity of identification based on race, and the experiences of students on this campus who have felt like they are treated differently because of the color of their skin.

There is no excuse for this article, and I hope I never see anything like it in The Hoot again.

– Matt Rogers 08