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The Hoot will treat TBTN with respect

The Brandeis Hoot Editorial Board would like to address student concerns about campus media coverage of Take Back the Night (TBTN) next Monday. TBTN is a critical event on campus for survivors of sexual assault, and we would like to be absolutely clear about our intentions in covering the event and how we came to these decisions, so that survivors in the community can feel safe. After a discussion by the board, The Hoot has decided not to record or take photos at TBTN, nor will we include quotes in our articles without explicit consent from the speaker.

In its most recent editorial, our fellow student journalists at The Justice made clear their intentions to record and take quotes from the event. They also detailed their experiences being brought in front of a conduct board by the university. While we have decided not to record or quote without consent, we do respect their right to make their decision without the threat of censorship.

The actions taken by the university to reprimand The Justice’s methods fall under that category, and we do not support these actions. It is a dangerous precedent when the university thinks they can reprimand journalists just because they disagree with their approach. To be clear, it is the punitive action that we find unjust; we encourage and appreciate public criticism of media coverage decisions.

Once again, we at The Hoot came to our decision to not take photos or record on our own, after thorough consideration of our responsibilities as students and as journalists. Our board’s stance comes from our unanimous belief that sensitivity must be inexorable from coverage of TBTN and the issue of sexual violence on campus. However, we also believe journalism must aim to facilitate discussion and debate. While we disagree with their choice, it is nevertheless The Justice’s journalistic and legal right to pursue this discussion however they wish, as it is ours to pursue our own without duress.

We write this editorial because we want to make a clear statement on our process in thinking over our rights as journalists and our duties as classmates. We hope the community can come together to stand in solidarity against sexual violence and make steps toward personal healing.

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