The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Greek incidents handled fairly by parties involved

    The Reflector recently printed articles concerning the activities of two fraternities that found themselves before the Interfraternity Council judicial board and dean of students for alcohol-related incidents. Because of this coverage, The Reflector has received several responses saying this organization may have treated these groups unfairly. As a newspaper that employs journalists and future journalists, it is the job and duty of The Reflector to cover newsworthy incidents and events without bias for or against the individuals involved. The Reflector feels that it did its job in both incidents.
    When any organization or student is charged by the police or dean of students with a violation that is of public concern, it is our job to contact all sides and inform the reading public, which we did to the best of our abilities since most of the information in both incidents are closed records according to Mississippi’s laws on the access of information concerning college campuses.
    A second concern that has been brought to our attention is whether Mississippi State University handled the situations fairly and appropriately.
    In contacting the organizations involved and university officials, one thing was common–the lack of confirmed information. In the interest of all involved, the accused, MSU and the alleged victims, we feel that limiting information could possibly open the door to evasive handling of student matters.
    Many states, including Mississippi, have laws protecting universities from being required by law to release any information regarding arrests and judicial hearings, which includes information that could be viewed negatively or positively.
    We feel that in many cases Mississippi’s laws protecting the accused is beneficial; however, we also feel that this practice and any practice of denying the public the right to know is a dangerous practice. Other states’ university presses have challenged and won the fight to have the right to open records on public universities. Our state keeps the records and all hearings closed. We feel that this practice could possibly hurt the accused more often than not.
    For those same reasons, all court proceedings except those involving minors are open to the public in all states in order to protect the accused from unfair rulings. We do not feel that our current MSU officials have or will treat students unfairly in proceedings; however, we stand firm in the belief that closing information from the public can hurt the public. Our staff empathizes with those who feel it is unfair that a story about a group that finds itself before a judicial board was printed; however, we understand the need to inform the public on such events as well. The Reflector prides itself on informing the public on the good and the bad, and we acknowledge that the bad often takes prevalence in story placement. The Reflector does not tolerate bias in our reporting, and it never will.

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    Greek incidents handled fairly by parties involved