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Editorial board apologizes

We, The Brandeis Hoot Editorial Board, would like to apologize for an opinion piece published in our last issue that made generalizations about Tim Touchette and the Community Advisors within the Department of Community Living. There were many ethical issues involved in this article that we would like to take the time to address.

Verification of information is essential to anything published in a newspaper, whether that be a news article or an opinion piece. The fact that this was an opinion piece should not have excused us from applying scrutiny and ensuring that you, our readers, could be certain all the information in the article was true and verified. The article included sweeping statements about DCL without attributing information to any sources. As editors, we are at fault for overlooking this and publishing the piece.

We recognize that our decision to allow the writer to remain anonymous without stating the reasons why was wrong. We gave the student anonymity out of concern for protecting survivors. However, it was wrong of us to allow an anonymous author to make such strong claims without named sources to verify the information.

As a board, we have reflected on how this happened. Members of the editorial board know the identity of the writer and trusted their credibility. We recognize this was improper justification for publishing the article. We were irresponsible in trusting any source to the extent that we didn’t do our job in fact-checking and standing our ethical ground.

We realize that our actions may have caused many of you—our readers, our sources and other members of the community—to question our standards. The Hoot has had a reputation as the “community newspaper,” a publication devoted to reporting on what is important to the student body. We have been a place for people to go to write about what matters to them.

Going forward, we want to show you we are a publication you can trust.

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