Saturday, April 19, 2014
Home » Opinion » Editorial » STAFF EDIT: To our readers

STAFF EDIT: To our readers

In light of the recent stories that emerged from The Daily Free Press in the April Fools’ edition, the Boston University community has been outraged. Students naturally poured their sentiments into the social media sphere; consequently, rash actions were immortalized in angry tweets and Facebook statuses. It becomes a bizarre parallel universe when a news publication, like us, becomes news as well as writes it.

We do not defend our actions, nor do we condone any kind of sexual assault being trivialized in a desensitized manner. Moreover, we want to emphasize that the material published was written by editors — not staff writers — of The Daily Free Press.

While apologies and words may seem insignificant to the wider population reading our paper, our sentiments are sincere. We did not publish any of the stories to offend or negate the immense progress BU has made regarding issues of sexual assault. However, we did. We aggrieved many of you with our insensitivity; we exasperated many of you with our unintentional perpetuation of “BU rape culture” that we have condemned in previous editorials. We were faced with some decisions and we made the wrong calls. Any fury or wrath the student body wishes to unleash will not be refuted or denied.

However, let us say this. Let us not disintegrate into demonizing one another over such a mistake. The severity and seriousness of the issue will not be diminished if the population of BU decides to begin a slow process of forgiveness in light of the circumstances. We have the utmost respect for BU Greek Life and our inconsiderate satire was not at all intended to portray fraternities as hubs for harmful sexual activity or trade in illegal drugs. We are well aware of the positive aspects sororities and fraternities bring to the BU undergraduate experience. Furthermore, we would like to extend another specific apology to the Center for Gender, Sexuality and Activism on campus. We are familiar with all the positive steps the CGSA has taken to ensure that sexual assault is taken seriously by the administration, students and the wider Boston community. Obviously, frustration is warranted. Yet while all this fury is understandable, let us not forget that we could be channelling this attention toward actual perpetrators of sexual assault and illegal drug use, rather than continue to dwell on the reported unsavory actions of fictional characters that were published to the disgust of many. As a community of college students, we should continue to focus our efforts on aiding organizations like the CGSA, instead of expending time and energy solely on ostracization.

In times of scandal and struggle, we are defined not by our ability to point fingers in blame, but by our conviction to take this as a lesson in appropriate conduct and emotional sensitivity. Mindlessly publishing stories is what you, our readers and other members of the community, have deemed as ignorant. However, ignorance would also be defiling a publication that may be used once more as an expression of student opinion and galvanization. The Daily Free Press, since its conception, has been dedicated to informing the student body of news and student views, and we have been mindful of the responsibilities that come with freedom of the press and freedom of speech. We publish a newspaper throughout the week for BU students. Therefore, BU students have the supremacy to engage with the publication to right these wrongs. In journalism, as in life, we are confronted with conflict or circumstances that highlight negativity or poor decisions. As a newspaper, we are better than this. As a school, we are better than this. As a community, we are better than this. Do not allow these barriers of anger and distrust evolve into walls of hostility and misconstruction. It would be an atrocity to begin a war that fired shots of accusation and moral contention, and amidst all the atrocity and antagonism we have endured as a generation and as students, further rifts in our community will only hinder any progress we need to ameliorate the cultural insensitivity of our society. Regardless, we continue to extend our deepest apologies for the anguish we have caused our readers and our university.

Editor’s Note: Please see the Board of Directors’ statement.

16 Responses for “STAFF EDIT: To our readers”

  1. caitmeister says:

    Apology would be easier to accept if it wasn’t followed by a much longer lecture about misplaced anger. Maybe the writers don’t have to resign, but all editors (see how it’s plural, and yet we’ve only seen one resignation?) involved should. Otherwise it feels like the only one who learned a lesson here is one scapegoated Chelsea. Do the right thing and show some character. This was irresponsible journalism and it should have consequences for all of you involved.

  2. cfastudent says:

    I didn’t realize enough people read the daily free press to generate an outrage…

  3. Hypocrisy Harry says:

    I knew that The Daily Free Press couldn’t write. What I didn’t know was how good they are at writing back handed apologies.

  4. Alison says:

    The article in question was written by Ms. Diana and shown to no one before publication due to Ms. Diana’s position at the head of the newspaper. She was not scapegoated. We need to learn from this and move on.

    • caitmeister says:

      She wrote all of the articles? Because none of the other articles were in good taste or at all funny either.

      • Really? says:

        So because you found some articles in bad taste in addition to this, you demand to see other hard working students be forced to walk away from an activity they’ve devoted their college careers to?

        It’s enough already cait, stop witch hunting and get back to dealing with the REAL issues on campus.

        • really, really? says:

          i think a student publication trivializing and making disgusting jokes about rape is a REAL issue on campus.

  5. WHAT says:

    Just because you aren’t an “actual perpetrator” doesn’t mean you aren’t perpetuating rape culture. I appreciate the time you took to write an apology, I just wish it wasn’t a lecture to minimize the anger the BU community feels regarding the publication (which is completely warrented.)

  6. Stephen says:

    What happened was a mistake, a bad one, by Chelsea, the FreeP, and its staff. The outrage is warranted.

    But let’s also take a step back. I believe that Chelsea understands her mistake now. I believe she will not make it again in the future. I think the same is true of the rest of the Free Press staff.

    I was disgusted to see what was put into print yesterday, but I am equally disgusted to see so many of my classmates devoting themselves to destroying the futures of our peers on the FreeP.

    When was the last time you made a mistake? Did you learn from it? Did you grow? Should that mistake define you? Really think about the situation. There is a positive way to move forward. Is your way it?

    Instead of trying to destroy the lives of our classmates involved in the Freep, let’s give them the chance to learn from it. This is still college after all and we are all still students. The FreeP exists, above all else, for practice and learning. I even believe the writers and staff of the FreeP will be better journalists because of this episode. I truly mean that.

  7. C'mon. says:

    Did you guys even read the end of this, after their apologies? I’m referring specifically to the last paragraph, where the staff apologizes in alternating lines between being contrite and blasting their readers.

    To wit: “Mindlessly publishing stories is what you, our readers and other members of the community, have deemed as ignorant. However, ignorance would also be defiling a publication that may be used once more as an expression of student opinion and galvanization.”

    Does anyone else think that it’s interesting when the staff of a newspaper tells their readers that they would be ignorant to continue to begrudge their publication that “may be used” in the future “as an expression of student opinion”? The Free Press is in essence apologizing with one hand, while dramatically telling their readership to lay off.

    And this writing was not contained to one-line cognitive dissonance; as seen seen later in the paragraph, “it would be an atrocity to begin a war that fired shots of accusation and moral contention, and amidst all the atrocity and antagonism we have endured as a generation and as students, further rifts in our community will only hinder any progress we need to ameliorate the cultural insensitivity of our society.”

    (In other words, they’re saying the continued discontent with the Free Press will cause a “war” and be shameful to us, since those who are outraged will “hinder any progress we need to ameliorate the cultural insensitivity of our society.”)

    Why does the staff of the Free Press accuse us of hindering cultural sensitivity, when our outrage was the only reason why the Editor saw how wrong she was in penning and publishing the April Fools article?

    But the paragraph does end with, “regardless, we continue to extend our deepest apologies for the anguish we have caused our readers and our university.” And now that line sounds awfully hollow.

    Next time the staff decides to write to the readers, please don’t apologize while telling the readers that they’re wrong to feel the way they do. By telling me that I’m somehow starting a war of cultural insensitivity and being ignorant in continuing to be outraged in your paper, I regret to state that I’m now much more displeased with this paper than I was two days ago.

  8. Come On. says:

    Did you guys even read the end of this, after their apologies? I’m referring specifically to the last paragraph, where the staff apologizes in alternating lines between being contrite and blasting their readers.

    To wit: “Mindlessly publishing stories is what you, our readers and other members of the community, have deemed as ignorant. However, ignorance would also be defiling a publication that may be used once more as an expression of student opinion and galvanization.”

    Does anyone else think that it’s interesting when the staff of a newspaper tells their readers that they would be ignorant to continue to begrudge their publication that “may be used” in the future “as an expression of student opinion”? The Free Press is in essence apologizing with one hand, while dramatically telling their readership to lay off.

    And this writing was not contained to one-line cognitive dissonance; as seen seen later in the paragraph, “it would be an atrocity to begin a war that fired shots of accusation and moral contention, and amidst all the atrocity and antagonism we have endured as a generation and as students, further rifts in our community will only hinder any progress we need to ameliorate the cultural insensitivity of our society.”

    (In other words, they’re saying the continued discontent with the Free Press will cause a “war” and be shameful to us, since those who are outraged will “hinder any progress we need to ameliorate the cultural insensitivity of our society.”)

    Why does the staff of the Free Press accuse us of hindering cultural sensitivity, when our outrage was the only reason why the Editor saw how wrong she was in penning and publishing the April Fools article?

    But the paragraph does end with, “regardless, we continue to extend our deepest apologies for the anguish we have caused our readers and our university.” And now that line sounds awfully hollow.

    Next time the staff decides to write to the readers, please don’t apologize while telling the readers that they’re wrong to feel the way they do. By telling me that I’m somehow starting a war of cultural insensitivity and being ignorant in continuing to be outraged in your paper, you apologize, but then make it sound like you don’t think that you deserve the blame, and think everyone else overreacted. That we should start forgiving you immediately. That’s just bad journalism; you need to rebuild your brand silently, but with quality.

    I regret to state that I’m now much more displeased with this paper than I was two days ago.

  9. Jean says:

    Thank you for your (halfhearted) apology. Did Ms. Diana write all of the articles? Hers was not the only one that was offensive, and the other writers need to own up.

    Secondly, I am still extremely disappointed that the Freep has not directly apologized to members of the BU community who are survivors of sexual assault. Many of the articles were triggering and crude. The Freep staff needs to realize that the CGSA and Greek life members were not the only ones who were hurt by yesterday’s paper.

  10. Anonymous says:

    You know what this reminds me of? A child being forced to apologize to his little sister after hurting her feelings, then trying to justify why he’s the victim.
    Grow up DFP. Realize when you are in the wrong and recognize that you deserve the wave of anger that is coming at you.

    Also, why is BU rape culture in quotes? It’s a real thing you idiots, not some term that people made up.

  11. ted thorne says:

    We all know that most rapes claims are false anyway -statistics prove this.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I was Managing Editor of The Daily Free Press in the early 90s. For the past ten years or so, I have been saddened to see the newspaper struggle to support itself financially and in recent years, I’ve made contributions to the newspaper’s foundation to try to help. This article makes me feel ill. Yes, we always did an April Fool’s edition, but the Editor and Managing Editor were students who took their responsibilities seriously and were appointed to those positions because they had common sense, a deep devotion to the paper, an understanding of journalism, and an understanding of how dangerous an April Fool’s edition could be.

    I also find it depressing for the newspaper’s future that the Editor who resigned was a sophomore. A sophomore? Is that correct? That’s what Drudge reported, and if true, it just shows how the paper is struggling to attract staff. Twenty years ago, the top positions went to seniors and were coveted slots. I’m saddened for The Daily Free Press to have sunk to this level, and I worry for its future.

  13. millard bunson says:

    There’s a lot to be said about using hieroglyphics as a communication medium: the message gets to sit in the dark for a few thousand years while people try to unravel it’s meaning finally coming to the conclusion in a dry scholarly essay that fart jokes were funny back then too. Sometimes absinthe does make the heart grow fonder and sometimes what wasn’t funny then isn’t funny now. And unless you are peeling back the layers of an Onion (onions, like ogres, have layers), the paper should PRESENT the news and NOT be the gnus.
    Is this worth arguing about?

    and so I have told you thusly.

Comments are closed