Letter to the Editor: Calling for accuracy

March 18, 2015 by Erica Moszkowski

To the Editor:

This is not the first criticism of fact-checking at the Record, but it is a necessary one. After playing such a prominent role in the College Council (CC) elections controversy, it is frustrating and disappointing to find that the Record cannot accurately report on its outcome (“CC changes elections committee,” March 11, 2015).

The article I refer to, by News Editor Francesca Paris ’18, reports that Emily Dzieciatko ’15 violated the CC bylaws: “Violations of the campaign bylaws by Meghana Vunnamadala ’16 and Emily Dzieciatko ’15.” This statement is unfounded, untrue and blatantly ignores all CC statements to the contrary. In its all-campus email statement on March 3, the Elections Supervisory Committee (ESC) made clear that Dzieciatko was in fact not in violation of any of the current CC bylaws. She did not have any information about the results of the polls when she indicated her personal preference for the Vunnamadala/Teddy Cohan ’16 ticket to them in a text message. The fact that Dzieciatko was not in violation of any bylaws was repeated multiple times at the emergency meeting of CC on the evening of March 3, at which the Record was present, and which the Record reported on the next day (“Emergency CC meeting annuls election,” March 4, 2015).

I want to emphasize that many students have rightly argued that the bylaws should more clearly delineate the responsibilities and obligations of members of the ESC. At this time, however, rules of communication for members of the ESC who do not have poll information are not written. I am certainly among those students who hope that the current Special Elections Supervisory Committee will propose amendments to the bylaws to codify the expectations for members of the ESC.

It is also worth noting that the title of Paris’ article is ambiguous and misleading. It is not immediately clear that the changes to the Elections Committee that were passed at the March 4 CC meeting were intended only for these special elections, nor that the current committee will be soliciting feedback from the student body about how the elections processes should be improved. This does not become clear until the second-to-last paragraph. This is essential information that should be clear to the student body, but it becomes muddled after the article’s title.

As Williams’ self-advertised “independent” newspaper, the Record has a responsibility to accurately report on CC’s actions and statements. As the party that first raised concerns with elections proceedings and called for annulment of the election results, the Record cannot currently be considered an impartial agent. However, raising important concerns such as those concerning these elections does not give the Record license to falsely report on the events during and following the election. Instead, the bar for accuracy should be even higher.

Sincerely,

Erica Moszkowski ’15

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

student March 19, 2015 at 9:59 pm

Brava!!

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Alumnus '14 April 17, 2015 at 11:00 am

Ms. Mozkowski, could you please explain why “raising concerns” amounts to grounds for no longer being an “impartial agent?” Raising concerns is what the press does. Calling for annulment occurred on the editorial page, which is traditionally considered the newspaper’s voice, and is allowed to comment subjectively. While the Record may have gotten a fact wrong here, denigrating their impartiality seems overly harsh.

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