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.