Op-ed: A letter from sports section alumni

Once+competitions+begin%2C+student-athletes+will+be+tested+up+to+three+times+a+week.+%28Photo+courtesy+of+Chuck+Zovko%29+

Once competitions begin, student-athletes will be tested up to three times a week. (Photo courtesy of Chuck Zovko)

Dear Lafayette Community,

As sports staff writer alumni of The Lafayette, we feel that it is our duty to speak out on behalf of the current newspaper staff. We commend The Lafayette for delivering hard hitting journalism— while balancing full class loads— in a tumultuous time for the media not just on College Hill, but in the United States. We believe that everyone has the right to ask for an interview, as well as give (or refuse) an interview. We also agree that the timing of this new policy from the Athletic Department is unprecedented and suspicious, given the recently published story on the dismissal of the women’s volleyball coach. As stated in the most recent editorial on the matter, it is hard to compare this policy to that of Temple or UPenn when there are three Patriot League schools that don’t have anything similar in place.

For those who haven’t read the prior editorial, there is no official policy in place, but reporters are currently hearing from communications officials instead of athletes. Herein lies the double edged sword. Student athletes have the right to be protected. As some of us know, giving an interview can be tough and no one wants to be misrepresented. The athletes who feel more comfortable going through a communications official should be able to do so. The athletes who are comfortable speaking directly with the internal school press should be allowed to do so.

Some of us alumni were student athletes, and writing for the paper was a creative and educational outlet. Especially for a short piece or a sidebar quote, the easiest thing to do was text our friends, meet up in Farinon and get a few quotes for the groundwork of a story.  To bar student athletes from quick and easy interviews slows the flow of information and makes the entire process of reporting harder for the 28 staff members on this paper. It seems that there needs to be a middle ground for the athletes to feel properly represented and for The Lafayette to deliver proper reporting, however, this current policy is not reflective of that.

We recognize that some stories are harder than others to report— not only for those writing but for those reading. We urge the Athletic Department to reconsider this policy before anything becomes final. It not only impedes the journalistic ability of the staff writers, but it sets a new tone for Lafayette, a campus that encourages personal and educational growth.  We are confident that between the college administration, the Athletic Department and The Lafayette that a resolution is possible.

To the college administration and the Athletic Department: please consider a policy that benefits both the students and the athletes at a small liberal arts college. To the current staff: keep working hard and producing journalism with integrity.

Sincerely,

The Sports Section Alumni

(written by: Jessica Deutsch ’15 & Mike Kelley ’14)