The Bigger Picture

Sam Stephenson, Co-Editor-in-Chief

I’d like to think over the past several weeks it’s become clear why it’s important to have someone covering student government. Especially here at Allegheny, the student body is so out of touch with its own governing body that many people have no idea what happens on the third floor campus center at 7 p.m. on a Tuesday night. For example, a series of articles in the next Campus issues will look at what happened in the ASG meeting on Oct. 21. Joe DiChristina, dean of students, came by with the student conduct report.

The report laid out suspensions, expulsions, sexual assault statistics, honor code statistics, etc. over the course of the last five years. Despite this important meeting happening that had Jeffrey Schneider, head of safety and security, Jacquie Kondrot, associate dean of students and sexual harassment officer, Joe Hall, director of student conduct and development, and Joe Dichristina, less than seven students outside of ASG were there.

The obvious question is why weren’t more people there and possibly why weren’t more people informed of this fairly important meeting, but it also shows the role of the newspaper. And that role is to inform the community about what happens in those meetings, among many other things.  As I continue to report on ASG, my goal is to bridge the gap between ASG and the student body because, unfortunately, there currently is hardly any communication between students and their representatives.

What makes this role of mine unique is that I am reporting on my peers. The good, the bad, the ugly. If something I write is something someone doesn’t like, I have to live with the fact that I will most likely see that person the next day in Brooks, or McKinley’s or on my way to class. It’s a part of the job any student reporter has. As the late but great Bob Bradlee once said, “We’ve got a lot of jobs to do but one of them is not be loved. We don’t have to be loved. We have to be respected, I think.” Bradlee was the executive editor of The Washington Post and played a huge role in the Watergate coverage and the Pentagon Papers. He passed away at the age of 93 this week.

Looking at the bigger picture, it’s something all journalists have to work with. From a small town newspaper reporting on the student council to a New York Times White House correspondent writing something about the president, reporters, student or professional, are not protected by some “shield” or “governing body of journalism.” It’s what makes journalism fun for me. We can write about the great accomplishments, but it’s our job to point out that student government isn’t doing its job or that a local fraternity lost it’s charter following a raid by homeland security.

I hope the Allegheny campus community stays tuned and keeps up to date on everything The Campus has to offer, not just because I say so, but because they care about what is happening in their community. And hopefully, the community can gain a better idea of how important the role of journalism is, student or professional.