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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Letter from the Editor

Published: November 5, 2010
Section: Editorials

In the past week, The Hoot’s coverage of incidents surrounding drinking on campus prior to Pachanga along with subsequent police action, has been questioned by the Brandeis community. Foremost among the community’s concerns is our decision not to publish the names of students arrested or involved in other alcohol-related incidents the night of Oct. 23.

As the community newspaper of the university, the four pillars of The Hoot’s ethics policy are to seek the truth and report it, to minimize harm, to act independently and to be accountable.

The focus of the article covering the incidents of Oct. 23 was that of the university’s response to student behavior and how the administration would better prepare for the dance in the future. As part of that article, we quoted an e-mail sent by university President Jehuda Reinharz and talked to Deans of Student Life along with Chief of Brandeis Public Safety Ed Callahan.

We did not print the names of the two students arrested that evening because it was secondary to the focus of the article, and we firmly believe that printing the names would have been inappropriate and unwarranted given the article’s focus. The article was not about a single event, but a larger trend regarding Pachanga and the associated drinking culture. Just as we opted not to publish the names of the police officers involved, we believe singling out those two students would be unethical and violate our responsibility to minimize harm.

The Hoot has covered incidents at Pachanga dances in years past when students have been arrested, and each time The Hoot did not publish the students’ names for these same reasons.

Per The Brandeis Hoot Constitution, The Hoot aims to “provide the Brandeis community with a reliable, accurate and unbiased source of news and information.” We are still investigating the events surrounding Oct. 23, and will continue doing so until we get to the bottom of what occurred. If and when we do publish subsequent articles, they will be based on credible sources and unbiased reporting.

If there are any further questions regarding our ethics policy, I urge you to send me an e-mail

Thank you,

Ariel Wittenberg

Editor in Chief

The Brandeis Hoot