Boom. I have officially been libeled. Granted, it was through an anonymous commenter on a forum monitored by a college newspaper, so a huge cash settlement is pretty unlikely. But I’ll take it, for my own ego at least, as the first step toward being a world-famous journalist.
I’d be a liar to say the comments on my article about two fraternities being investigated in connection with an out-of-control party didn’t bother me. Seeing my name put down time and time again in such a negative way was not fun, and it’s tough to pretend it was. But when I get past the fact that it’s me in the middle of the backlash on this story, the comments themselves are, for the most part, funny.
One fraternity is now under investigation for what we know many of them do: throw huge parties with a number of underage drinkers. Go up to anyone who’s lived in a residence hall at Cal Poly, and they’ve surely heard about these parties. Most of them have probably gone to one (and in response to a couple of commenters, I, myself, have not).
But police say they caught one doing it and reported the incident to the greek office on campus. If the student life and leadership director convicts them, the fraternity could face punishment up to and including disaffiliation with the university.
Naturally, this does not sit well with many in the greek community. They can’t be happy that one of their prized — and somewhat larger — fraternities is at risk of losing its standing with the school. That’s already happened to two groups in the last three years, and they surely do not want to go three for three.
But instead of bringing a complaint up to the person who really has the power — the student life and leadership director — they are attacking the person who’s bringing them the news. And for those of you who haven’t been following along, that’s me.
What those attacking Mustang Daily and myself don’t understand is that we don’t make any decisions. We did not tell the director to investigate the two fraternities. We did not convict them. Hell, we didn’t even know about the investigation until a staffer heard about it Monday morning, three days after the Playboy party.
All we’re doing is bringing the students — yes, you — the news. When two greek houses on campus are under investigation, that’s news that needs to be reported on (especially by a campus newspaper). We’re not convicting them by playing judge, jury and executioner. Instead, we’re telling you what is going on so you can make your own decisions.
The police filed their report, which was referenced in my article, and the student leadership director has his own suspicions, which were also referenced. The one thing that was not referenced, however, was what the fraternities have to say. And that’s because the presidents refused to comment. Even another member, known only as “Nick,” who called in to ask me not to publish the article, refused to comment. We gave them the chance to be interviewed and put in their side of the story, because it’s our job to bring students information, not to slant it and show only one side. And I mean it from the bottom of my heart when I say it is truly unfortunate they were not able to take that opportunity to tell their story.
So to all the greeks leaving comments on my story, feel free to move your name above the fold and join us in the main article. We’d love to have you. But until then, keep up the name-calling and mudslinging. My inbox might start to feel empty without it.