We Apologize

Our fifth issue contained language that insulted one of our deans. We deeply apologize.

We want to extend our deepest apologies. On Friday, Oct. 25 we learned of a terrible oversight in the print run of our fifth issue, specifically a drop quote in the “Chemical Spill Shuts Down MSE Building, 4 Hospitalized” cover story. Shirley McManus, the dean of math, science, and engineering was referred to by a word that was inappropriate and insulting.

We know that this word has caused significant pain and embarrassment to the dean, and many others who read our paper. We know that it has put those who defend student journalism into a difficult and awkward position.

The oversight cannot be justified, but it can be explained. For the past several years, we have used templates for our drop quotes that included the insulting word because the Rampage reporter who originally designed those templates thought it was funny.

We know now that it is not funny.

The template was used, but the second line was not revised. The insult was printed.

While the Rampage can be critical of both faculty and administrators, we never seek to demean, insult, or harass anyone. We employ rigorous systems of fact checking and copy editing at our paper.

Those systems failed. We have failed.

We have taken steps to ensure that this will never happen again. Our templates no longer include insulting language of any kind. We have personally apologized to Dean McManus, and hope that one day the oversight can be forgiven.

This oversight represents a tremendous breach in our protocol and a violation of our core principles.

There was some concern that this apology would draw attention to the oversight, resulting in greater embarrassment for ourselves and our paper.

As journalists we feel no shame admitting our mistakes. Transparency is the core ethos of our field. We prefer truth, even when it is inconvenient, and we will never regret correcting the record.

In the interest of transparency, decency, and truth, we deeply apologize for our mistake. We apologize to the person we hurt, and we apologize to our readers.