As the Crimson‘s cartoon woes drift downriver, Dartmouth’s are just rounding the bend. But this time the comic isn’t plagiarized — it’s insensitive.
It started with Nietzsche. Drew Lerman ’10 drew a comic for Monday’s paper depicting the philosopher coaching a frat boy on how to take advantage of a drunk girl. A few readers concluded that the cartoon advocates rape and proceeded to burn copies of The Dartmouth outside the paper’s offices. Here’s Caroline Kerr ’05 in a Tuesday op-ed:
Where does The Dartmouth draw the line? Would a picture of a black student being lynched from Baker Tower make it into the comics? How about a group of students from Hillel being marched off to a gas chamber under a giant swastika?
A staff editorial in the same edition responded that the comic, while racy, “does not fall under the category of hate speech” and shouldn’t be censored. The university’s Student Assembly issued a strongly-worded statement Tuesday night questioning The Dartmouth‘s journalistic integrity. (Full text after the jump).
Misunderstood social commentary? Masculist hate crime? We’re gonna safely go with neither. The joke isn’t funny enough to be excusable, and the misinterpretation — that Nietzsche advocates rape – is too absurd to be offensive. We’re not sure where this lies on the overreact-o-meter either, but there are two things we never underestimate: 1) a college cartoonist’s ability to botch a joke, and 2) a campus’s inability to spot one.
Statement of Concern Regarding Journalistic Integrity in The Dartmouth
Sponsored by Tim Andreadis ’07, Yuki Kondo-Shah ’07, Michelle Davis ’07,
Soralee Ayvar ’07, Raina Hammel ’07 and The Diversity and Community Committee
WHEREAS The Dartmouth exists as the main daily news source for students, alumni, parents, and the larger community;
WHEREAS The Dartmouth is an independent organization;
WHEREAS The Dartmouth leases office space from the College in Robinson Hall and is permitted to establish distribution centers around campus and also has a College representative on its Board of Visitors;
WHEREAS The Dartmouth exists as a community newspaper that has a large impact on student opinion and is often the only means by which students learn about issues on campus;
WHEREAS The Dartmouth has received a number of complaints specifically regarding their poor fact checking, biased selection of Op-Eds, misquoting or misrepresenting Dartmouth community members, editorializing their news articles, misleading and/or factually inaccurate article titles-all relating to a serious lack of journalistic integrity and accountability on behalf of The Dartmouth under the guise of ‘free speech’;
WHEREAS several students feel that The Dartmouth has not made any substantial movement toward amending or remedying the aforementioned problems with the publication;
WHEREAS The Dartmouth has consistently refused to print retractions to address these and other issues;
Let it be resolved that Student Assembly issue the following statement of concern regarding The Dartmouth:
The Student Assembly and members of the student body are concerned that The Dartmouth, as an independent organization with a large impact on campus, has generated a number of concerns among members of the Dartmouth community regarding their poor fact checking, biased selection of Op-Eds, misquoting or misrepresenting Dartmouth community members, editorializing their news articles, misleading and/or factually inaccurate article titles-all relating to a serious lack of journalistic integrity and accountability on behalf of The Dartmouth under the guise of ‘free speech’;
The Student Assembly and members of the student body request that The Dartmouth ascertain a greater degree of transparency and integrity in its editorial decisions for selecting Op-Eds and printing retractions.
The Student Assembly and members of the student body request that The Dartmouth works toward a greater degree of objectivity in its criterion for selecting Op-Eds.
The Student Assembly and members of the student body request that The Dartmouth create an online message board on its website homepage or an alternative forum for students to address inaccuracies or issues that arise with the reporting / journalism of the publication;
Let it be finally resolved that the Student Assembly share the aforementioned statement and recommendations with The Dartmouth editorial board, The Dartmouth‘s Board of Visitors, and College administrators in an effort to encourage a dialogue and work with the paper to make improvements.