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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Letter to the Editor

Published: February 4, 2011
Section: Editorials

To the Editor,

I think it’s extremely inappropriate for you to publish the picture of a student on a stretcher being taken to the hospital. In my opinion your article didn’t touch on that student and focused on the person that actually hit them and I didn’t see the point of publishing such a personal photograph of that student. That is a deeply personal experience for someone to go through and to publish something like that would probably bring the student back to that night when all they should be focused on is moving on.

The entire student body shouldn’t get a look into the night the student almost lost their life and I don’t think it’s appropriate to post that on your front page. You call yourselves a community newspaper but a community would protect its students from having to relive such a traumatic event, not shove it in their face. I would hope your staff would be more compassionate to someone almost losing their life and I honestly think you owe that student an apology. That night is none of your business unless you sat and watched the struggle they went through. Please consider the consequences to your actions next time.

—Kate Baca

A response from the Editors:

This letter characterizes the photo published in The Hoot last week alongside the article “Inconsistencies in December hit and run” as “extremely inappropriate,” and the author is entitled to that opinion. The facts, however, remain clear: this newspaper did not identify the student in the picture and ensured that the picture did not include any identifying characteristics of the student. Perhaps this is why The Hoot was not the only newspaper to publish the photo, which was reprinted from the archives of the local News Tribune of Waltham.

The letter also claims that the alleged crime on Dec. 3 is “none of [our] business.” But that’s not true: the circumstances of what happened and the fact that the courts and local police have failed to take this issue seriously are issues that deserve mention. Also, in the aftermath of the accident, the university administration made no mention of the occurrence and still has not released a statement. There is good reason, then, for the prominence of the photo and article: to inform the community that a significant event occurred on campus and that the university, Waltham police department and Waltham court system are not treating the event with the focus it deserves.

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