From the Tartan Ombudsman
The Natrat Commission Forum took place last Wednesday with a small but effective turnout. The attendees, who included members of SPIRIT, an alumnus of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, and many from the administration, brough up a number of important issues.
One important concern brought up was the fact-checking of articles. This process is currently done by the author of the article and then by proofreaders, section editors, and the Editor-in-Chief. Fact-checking in the content of the paper is an issue of which I have been very aware for a number of years. I personally have had an instance where something with which I was involved was reported entirely inaccurately. This is a problem that is not as easily solved as it may seem. For issues such as news or science-and-technology topics, all facts are objective and relatively easy to check for accuracy. The real problems are presented when on-campus news is being reported, specifically breaking news or news that requires access to police reports, another topic addressed during the forum, which has since been resolved. One of the contributions that I, as well as Mark, the executive officer of the paper, have made is to use our connections with the campus to ensure the writers have the appropriate sources to allow all facts reported to be accurate and fair, and ideally this happens every time. In fact, the number of complaints regarding poor fact-checking has greatly decreased this semester. However, The Tartan can only have so many connections and resources from which to draw
The other issue raised was the community and The Tartan?s role regarding the recommendations for the broader community, commonly referred to as Charge 3, in the Natrat report. Saying that the recommendations are ?commonly referred to as Charge 3? may be misleading, since only a small group of people have paid attention to the report as to know exactly what Charge 3 is; the conversation addressed this very issue. The dean of H&SS, John Lehoczky, said that many observers, including himself, thought that massive changes would occur within the community in the year following the Natrat controversy, but that in fact the opposite has occurred. It seems that very few students are interested in giving the issue the time and thought that it warrants. It was pointed out, and I firmly agree, that the Tartan has the ability and necessity to take major steps towards positively bringing the issues back to students? attention. This concerns not only the racism facet of the problem but all of the aspects that this community often neglects. We accept that this may be a difficult task, but I feel it is our duty to
take it on.
The Tartan and I will continue to work on discussing and implementing the suggestions made in the commission?s report. We will also begin to look for any way to effectively bring this issue to every student?s attention.
Any input that you as a reader have on this subject would be greatly appreciated.
As for future forums, we will most likely hold another in the coming months; however, to reiterate, if you have any input of which you would like the editorial staff to be aware, please do not hesitate to make contact. Your thoughts and concerns are always welcome here.