A Miami student is arrested for underage drinking or public urination and the story is published in The Miami Student‘s police beat column.
As if students weren’t embarrassed enough to deal with the police, be arrested, possibly jailed and reprimanded by their parents, they have to read about the story in The Miami Student along with 17,000 other students, professors and staff members. Don’t beat someone when they’re down. It doesn’t make sense for The Miami Student to print this information. Stories of this nature that mention specific names and details are embarrassing, not informative.
This column only calls unwanted attention to a student who made a poor decision. If this column printed information about a child molester living in Oxford or an increase in thefts around Oxford, that would be useful, print worthy information. The police beat articles that mention individual students getting in trouble with the law are not informational in the same way.
We, the Miami University community, don’t have to be on the lookout for an 18-year-old first-year who was arrested for underage drinking or a fraternity brother who was caught publically urinating. This newspaper is doing neither the university nor the student body a favor by printing this information.
Articles like these don’t represent our university well. I would venture to guess the president, some members of the Board of Trustees and other high-ranking administrators read The Miami Student. If you ask them how they feel about reading such articles, I’ll bet you they wouldn’t say “very informative,” “vital Information” or “I’m glad I read that.”
Newspapers have a right to obtain police reports and print such articles. Because of this, I cannot point a finger at this newspaper’s right to print this information. However, it is still the newspaper’s choice to print such content. Being on the executive board of the student newspaper of my undergraduate institution, I am grateful that we did not print such information. I was shocked to see The Miami Student have a specific column for such a purpose.
I realize that police blotter columns are printed in many public newspapers, but the environment that this newspaper is printed in and specific population that it reports on and reports to makes it a bad decision. College is supposed to be a supportive environment to learn and grow, not to be publically humiliated. We aren’t in college to poke fun at or publically identify those who made mistakes, that’s what bullies do.
This newspaper can print this information, but it doesn’t have to. A reasonable solution should be to draw a metaphorical line at embarrassment. Once the content of these articles crosses into public embarrassment and humiliation for the parties involved, it shouldn’t be printed.