Don't Believe Everything you Read on the Internet

February 8, 2019

Vox, a publication hardly known for their hard-hitting (or even fact-based) journalism recently published an article that has been circulating around campus, which it seems everybody has read. If not, I would usually recommend reading it to get some context for this piece, however I don’t want the article to get any more clicks, so I will not be linking it. There are a lot of issues with this article, and I feel the need to use my voice to at least try to explain why.

 

First of all, it is not a good article. I know I am not the definitive source on good journalism but as someone who has at least studied it, I found this piece to be severely lacking in compelling research and unbiased reporting.

 

There is only one named student source. While there are two other student quotes, they are anonymous. I can completely understand why anonymity should be respected, but it seems unlikely that this publication could not find a different student to interview, one that would be willing to share their name. Furthermore, the quotes that are attributed to a student are all by one grad student, thus lacking accurate representation of the student population. It is impossible to believe that one quoted grad student is the voice of the entire student body.

 

 GRAPHIC COURTESY OF VOX

 

I would also love to know if the author of this piece actually read Dean Merckx’s dissertation, which they reference, or if she just used quotes that were sent to her by other sources. Going off that, what exactly is so wrong about Dean Merckx’s claim in his dissertation? That there may need to be a different approach to teaching international students about Title IX? Also who is to say that the Obama era regulations are the pinnacle of good policy? They were clearly leaps and bounds ahead of what DeVos has done, but does that automatically means you are not allowed to criticize them? And I think it is pretty horrible to insinuate that because Dean Merckx did not 100 percent agree with those guidelines that he is automatically aligned with DeVos' policies.

 

Also, for the two and a half years that I have been at Drew, I have heard complaints about Title IX and the coordinator. While I am sure Emily Ralph did the best she could, students that dealt with Title IX often complained about the way things were handled. Now that she is gone, everyone seems to forget that. The problems with Title IX did not start with her termination. The way this article paints the former coordinator as a saint and the Dean of Students and the President as evil is just horrible and irresponsible journalism.

 

Sharing the Vox article only contributes to the misinformation that exists on campus. The lack of response from the administration has created an environment where students are confused and will accept any information that is offered to them, even when this “information” is actually constructed facts and quotes taken out of context. Sharing the Vox article blindly and complaining about the lack of information is hypocritical, because you are only making the problem bigger.

 

Yes, the administration messed up. They should not have gotten rid of the Title IX coordinator and the way the backlash has been handled has been an absolute mess. The lack of communication about it is absolutely appalling. But demonizing someone who will be taking over, and who I believe will do his best in his new position, is not the way to fix things. So yes, complain to the administration, tell them your concerns about this issue. But targeted harassment and hateful rhetoric is not the way to bring about change.

 

Anna is a junior English major with minors in Art History and Women's and Gender Studies.

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