As a journalist for 15 years and as a teacher of journalism at Southern Illinois University and Miami University for more than 25 years, I believe I have the expertise to comment on The Miami Student’s decision to publish an anonymous letter that, to me, seemed a blanket condemnation of international students, particularly those from China.
I congratulate The Student for finally admitting the staff does not know who wrote the anonymous letter, although it does seem written from the perspective of a faculty member. Now — the rub.
The publication of the anonymous letter without knowing its authorship is a major violation of journalistic ethics.
The Miami Student is not a cable news channel that can get away with innuendo and unsupported facts.
Check with newspapers around the country and you will discover what I have written is correct. You cannot publish a controversial letter without at least having someone on the staff who knows who authored it. You need to publish a front-page editorial apologizing for this breach of journalistic integrity.
Your letter should also apologize to all international students, especially those from China and other Asian countries for allowing a letter to appear that included
You should have only used it as a tip that could not reach the public without extensive research and interviews.
Did the author, if a faculty member, ever reach out to the Chinese students and get to know them as human beings? Have the international students been consulted, especially those in the particular classroom?
Please, please understand that your publication without the proper reporting seemed to suggest racial insensitivity.
As a journalist I covered the civil rights revolution in the United States in such places as Texas, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Detroit and Lansing, Michigan. Please understand the civil rights struggle occurred all over the United States.
Now, I see in Oxford and nearby areas the intensification of racism in American society. To say it does not exist would be like the white Mississippi farmer telling me in an interview that segregation was a good system for white and black.
We all have a role in making this a free society where the rights of all are not only protected, but honored. We love the concept that it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it also takes a community to educate a child.
Faculty, staff and all students must realize there are obligations outside the classroom and to overlook them is a form of racial insensitivity.
And faculty members must be contributing members of our academic village more than two days a week. Some are. But not enough.
One more thing for you to consider. There will be repercussions for the university’s lack of sufficient outreach programs that we are all responsible for. Please understand this. We are a global society and what happens in Oxford echoes throughout the planet.