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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Letter to the Editor: Menu Courey editorial an example of poor journalism

A Jan. 29 editorial makes many generalizations and claims.

Feb. 8, 2014

The Maneater reserves the right to edit letters and columns for style and length.

To the editorial board of the Maneater,

I am disgusted and dismayed to read your Jan. 29 editorial, “It’s too early for blame in Sasha’s story”. In addition to sweeping generalizations about Menu Courey’s tragic case, the piece is littered with contradictions and fallacies, fails to follow a logical trajectory and is naïve in tone, at best. I am particularly shocked by the writer’s ridiculous, unsubstantiated claim that Menu Courey’s sexual assault and subsequent suicide were “probably unrelated”—with what authority or information is the writer making this claim?! Statements such as this and others are indicative of poor, sloppy journalism.

Throughout the piece, the writer seems to confuse “blame” and “responsibility,” calling foul on those who look to “blame” any Mizzou institution, particularly Mizzou Athletics. The issue ESPN’s Outside the Lines aimed to highlight wasn’t about blame, but rather about investigating the roles and responsibilities of university institutions towards their students, staff, faculty and visitors. The writer, however, calls for the university to “move forward,” offering vague and simplistic recommendations for change, such as the need for Mizzou Athletics to “have systems in place to properly care for all the needs of their athletes.” In closing, the writer again singles out the need for Mizzou Athletics to “openly cooperate and develop policies.” Hence, the writer clearly identifies Mizzou Athletics as the primary institution responsible for ensuring the well-being of student athletes.

More poor writing is seen in the nebulous statement that “the gray areas are only getting grayer,” without actually qualifying what constitutes as “gray area” in Menu Courey’s case. As the piece concludes, the writer seems fundamentally more concerned with the reputation of the university's "stellar athletic program" than the health and well-being of what makes up the said "stellar athletic program": flesh-and-blood students, faculty and staff. This editorial contributes little else but more hurt and confusion surrounding the Mizzou swimmer’s time at the university. As a fellow Canadian and international student, my heart aches for Sasha, her friends and her family. Bon courage, les amis: Sasha will see justice.

Samantha Ghali, samantha.ghali@gmail.com

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