Every student on campus has heard at least one rumor this semester about parties gone wild, students unable to get a COVID-19 test, and so much more. All corners of campus have expressed frustrations behind closed doors at ridiculous policies and even more ridiculous policy violations they believe have gone unchecked.
But the Campus Times hasn’t been able to report on these, because nobody will go on the record. We can’t report on the rumors because we can’t find a single source to confirm them.
This is frustrating for a newspaper. We aim to keep the student body informed, and we especially want to give people the information they need to make safe decisions during a pandemic. But we can’t publish unconfirmed, potentially inaccurate hearsay. We need students to step up and talk to us about their experiences.
As journalists, we’re required to have a source for everything we say. We don’t make up the news, and we don’t present our opinions as facts. When someone comes to us asking for anonymity, we risk our credibility. By publishing an anonymous account, we’re telling our readers, “Trust us, this is a real person. We’re not making this up.”
That being said, we’ll take any sources we can get. We won’t take rumors, but we can work with anonymous experiences that corroborate each other. If you have a valid fear of retaliation if you go on the record, we will work with you. And we certainly would never release any source’s identity unless they’ve consented.
It’s not just our peers that we have to hold accountable for partying and other policy violations; it’s also the University. We have heard rumors of difficult quarantine experiences, a lack of access to testing, and unwritten exceptions to rules.
We aren’t so dramatic and anti-administration as to think there’s a big conspiracy where administrators are endangering our community in the name of saving face. They likely have legitimate reasons for decisions they’ve made this semester. But we don’t even know what we don’t know.
That’s where you come in.
Because we’re all human beings, we aren’t following University policies perfectly. We might be doing great — as we said, we don’t really know — but we could always do better.
Monroe County is in the yellow zone right now, severely limiting gatherings and activities.
We can’t tell how much of that is our fault; we aren’t aware of our own blind spots. So give us a hand: Fill out this Google Form if you have a personal experience related to COVID-19 that you want us — and everyone else — to know about (again, we won’t publish your name without your consent). You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If we aren’t the ones to get the story, who will?
The Editorial Board is a weekly Opinions article representing the view of the Campus Times, co-written by Editor-in-Chief Hailie Higgins, Publisher An Nguyen, Managing Editor Corey Miller-Williams, Features Editor Micah Greenberg, and Opinions Editor Lucy Farnham.