To the editor

SHAME ON THE VOICE

While skimming The Voice, I read and became extremely disturbed by the security notes brief titled, “Child Endangerment?”  While the idea of unsupervised children was upsetting enough, even more problematic and disturbing was the described response of the vaguely described law enforcement personnel involved. By police, did the reporter mean campus security, the Ann Arbor police, or the county sheriff’s department?  In any event, law enforcement personnel are considered mandatory reporters in the state of Michigan, and if the situation were as confusingly described (LA building?, parking lot?) whoever responded to this call was remiss in their responsibilities.

Considering the source, I contacted Campus Security to verify this account and was informed that the situation had not been accurately described in the paper. The children had not been left in a car and there were more details. I am now wondering what other information in this short article was incorrect?

News should be accurately reported. The fact that these were news briefs does not lessen the responsibility of the paper or those who compile the information. The campus safety and “police” were portrayed in this brief account as being negligent, a portrayal which effects campus perception of the caliber of both campus security and local law enforcement.  It also conveyed the impression that these entities do not take either child safety or Michigan Law seriously.  While I am less disturbed about the content of the brief, I am disappointed in The Washtenaw Voice.

Patricia R. Hill, PT, MA
Physical Therapist Assistant Program, Director
Washtenaw Community College

EDITOR’S NOTE:

As part of our duties as the campus newspaper at Washtenaw Community College, The Voice makes every attempt possible to inform it’s readers when incidents and crimes occur. However, it is almost impossible for our reporters to do a responsible job reporting the news when the information given to us by Campus Safety and Security contain more redacted details than information on the incidents.

The report featured to the left of this letter is an example of just what we are left to deal with on a weekly basis when trying to report the news on campus.

We’ve tried repeatedly to work with campus security officials and others responsible for protecting us here on campus and apparently this is the best they can do.

That’s not say campus security is poor or not doing its job, but when college officials fail to provide critical information to the public, it makes our jobs very difficult.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act does not restrict the disclosure of any of this information and under the Freedom of Information Act, our newspaper has a right to view those reports in full. It should be up to the judgment of this publication and it’s editors in charge to make the decision on what information is included in our reports.

The Voice is committed to putting an accurate account of what happens on this campus out for our readers and doing it in a timely manner. However, when we are illegally prevented from providing all the detail, we simply cannot to our jobs effectively.

Matt Durr
Editor
The Washtenaw Voice

1 comment to To the editor

  • Astonished

    Wow. Can I just say, wow. I’m not particularly interested in your newspapers “right” to anything. What I am astounded by is that clearly you have bought into the idea that the public “needs” to know everything.

    Clealy this woman made a poor choice, leaving her children unattended. Just as clearly, this is not a matter of “public” safety. Only the safety of the children involved. Campus and students were not under any threat. One mistake (the size of which is not under question,) does not mean this woman deserves to have all of her personal business put out for the public to see. Even small town local papers are more tactful than this. For this newspaper to choose this issue to call out campus security on is in extremely poor taste.

    In my humble opinion, which I am choosing to share, know that I may be critizied for, this whole article is indicative of what is wrong with our culture. YOU, (or the newspaper in this case) are not entitled to anything you have not earned. FOIA or not, have some dignity and common courtesy for your fellow human. Good grief.

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