Editorial 2-18

On Sunday, The Campus heard that a possible hate crime had taken place on campus the Friday night before.  Although we tried to pursue it that day and were able to speak to members of Queers and Allies and Pride Alliance, none of them would speak on the record or confirm any of our facts.
We continued to work on reporting the story that Sunday, but again were met largely with silence.
Finally, on Monday, we were able to receive confirmation from a member of the Residence Life staff and Dean of Students Joe DiChristina that the rumored incident had occurred, and we published a short article on the web, and publicized it through Facebook and Twitter.
Although no report had been filed with the Meadville City Police and no report was yet available in the Office of Safety and Security, we were able to confirm on the record the information that had been gathered previously, and so we felt comfortable publishing an account.
We have since been working to update the story as we gather more information in order to create a clearer picture of what happened that Friday night.
Although President Mullen initially deferred comment to DiChristina and has still not issued an official statement, we were able to speak with him about the incident Tuesday night.
QnA, after initially declining to comment, issued a statement via e-mail today.
Chief Diversity Officer Lawrence Potter agreed to comment on the issue today, but neither Betsy Scarpaci, the area coordinator of Walker Hall, nor Associate Dean of Students for Wellness Education Jacquie Kondrot, have responded to our calls.
DiChristina requested that we work through him on our story, as he is the administrator in charge of the investigation.
However, we believe the voices of every person we’ve contacted are essential to a balanced and informed portrayal of the issue, and we hope those who have chosen not to comment will reconsider.
Although no official report has been filed, this information is available to all students who choose to call DiChristina and ask. We did not go dumpster diving for our facts; we did not hack administrators’ computers.
While we respect victim’s rights, there is no constitutional right to privacy for victims of crimes, because any act that harms one person could potentially have an effect on another, and individuals have the right to know when they could be in danger.
Were a police report filed, the victim’s name and address would be available to the public.
We have received criticism for our choice to pursue the issue at all, as the victim of the incident requested, through QnA, that we not publish an article.
QnA expressed concerns that we would be bringing unwanted attention to the victim, and that we may further endanger this student by writing about the incident.
But we chose to publish the story, not in blatant disregard of the student’s comfort and safety, but because it’s something that should matter to you.
Students should know that these terrible acts do occur on campus. We live on a hill, but we don’t live above the hatred and bigotry that continues to affect the rest of the world, and only by confronting it can we start to combat it.
Students at Allegheny complain about a lot, and rightfully so—the high prices at McKinley’s, the yearly tuition raises, the constant construction on campus are all causes for concern.
But how often do you hear your peers lament the lack of discussion about race relations on campus?
These issues only come to the forefront of Allegheny’s attention when a crisis happens, like the blackface incident last semester or the graffiti that was found last Friday. And that is why we continue to report on them.
The only way to heal those rifts is by addressing the fact that they exist.
Victims’ rights are important and we don’t aim to undermine them.
But is it a victim’s right to suffer alone, or is it their right to be supported by the community, to have their peers and campus administrators address the issues that caused the incident in the first place?
We have faith that all of you would want to know and would want such incidents condemned by the administration and by your peers.
We know you don’t want to attend a school that suffers from unspoken hatred and bigotry, and we know that you will work to change that atmosphere if you see it expressed.
This is not representative of the wider campus community, but it is proof that hatred and bigotry do exist on campus.
Now that you have read our article and are armed with facts, raise hell.
Make sure this school lives up to its potential, to its statement of community, which affirms every student’s right to live in an “inclusive, respectful and safe residential learning community that will actively confront and challenge racism, sexism, heterosexism, religious bigotry, and other forms of harassment and discrimination.”
Make sure that the only people who feel uncomfortable on campus are the bigots themselves.
We reported this issue also because we feel you have the right to know when someone’s safety has been violated on campus because it affects the community in which you live and work and could ultimately affect you.
We also feel you have the right to decide what this campus should be, and only when you know it at its worst can you figure out how to make the campus its best.
The student who wrote the graffiti violated a student’s personal space and made that student fear for their safety. Why hasn’t this yet been reported as a crime to the Meadville City Police?
It is an incident that has made many students across campus worry about the atmosphere at Allegheny. Why hasn’t the administration responded to these concerns?
Ask these questions, and demand answers. We’ve been trying to do that for you all week. We hope that by shedding light on the issue, we’ll give you power to raise your voices enough to incite change on this campus.