To The Daily Campus:
As former Daily Campus editors and proud SMU alumni, we were disappointed to come across an online petition posted by the SMU Women’s Interest Network and SMU SPECTRUM asking The Daily Campus to “STOP publishing articles contributing to rape culture and misogyny in general.”
The petition, which can be found on WIN’s Facebook page, specifically references three articles, all published in the paper’s opinion section in recent weeks. In one, titled “Women: Prevent sexual assaults: Drinking responsibly may reduce risk factor,” a Daily Campus contributing writer explicitly places the blame for sexual assaults on their victims. Needless to say, this is not an appropriate way to report on a serious problem affecting colleges around the country.
Recent controversies surrounding the coverage of sexual assault cases by major national networks, magazines and newspapers have led to an important debate amongst journalists as to how to handle these stories in a responsible, sensitive and ethical manner. Now, The Daily Campus has an opportunity to join that conversation.
We know from personal experience that the staffers at The Daily Campus are students learning as they go along. As stories related to sexual assault unfortunately continue to unfold, we hope that the paper’s senior editors will consider this petition an opportunity to begin a dialogue with their editorial adviser, their professional ethics professors and groups like WIN and SPECTRUM as to how best to meet their obligations as a quality student paper and a leader of campus culture.
Nathaniel French, 2011
Jessica Huseman, 2012