Editor’s note: This is the second of a four-part series of editorials written by the Spartan editors explaining our reasoning and reactions following the racist email story and choosing not to name the sender.
Writing a story about a racist student is tricky. As a reporter, I want everyone to know who this kid is. But as a fellow student, I understand that it’s for the best if he remains unnamed.
Our decision to keep this student anonymous was a very challenging one, probably the most challenging any of us have ever faced as a team. I want my peers, especially those living on campus, to feel safe.
But man, do I want to see him face some real consequences for how he behaved. We don’t know what the school will do yet, but it may just be brushed under the rug.
Putting a name in an article immortalizes it.
A name shows up in searches on the internet, and it would follow this student for the rest of his life. Don’t get me wrong, he deserves consequences for his actions. But as much as this will follow him, it will follow the students affected by it.
We don’t want to cause any more struggle for our students of color than there already is.
From a journalistic standpoint, we got comments from this student. We had the right to run the name with this story. But we didn’t, in consideration of what backlash could fall on not us, but our peers.
And if people really want to know the name, they can find it anywhere on social media.
Let me tell you—he’s a real class act. I emailed him to get comments for the article, and his disrespectful nature was made clear.
After asking him about any disciplinary action, he said we had “no right” to be asking him that question.
Really? We can ask whatever we want. No one ever said he had to answer them.
And after telling me to “send no further emails,” I complied with his wishes. But lo and behold, he sent another email days later stating that “the liquor did it.” So now, a week after the initial incident, he’s claiming to have been drunk when he sent those emails on a Friday morning.
Can I get a yikes, folks?
To make things worse, we cropped out this student’s ‘door dec’—the little tag on a dorm’s door for your name and pronouns. Not only did this student have “TRUMP 2020” written on it, he also had “she/her” written as his preferred pronouns when he is a male-identifying student. Making a joke, it seems, of preferred pronouns.
So not only is he racist, but he’s transphobic too.
From my perspective, bigots don’t belong at Castleton. From our first day on campus, we are taught the Castleton way. And this is not it.
I hope that, as a student body, we represent something better than that.