Letter: By publishing e-mail, the News sensationalized break-up of Pierson Inferno

To the Editor:

The News unfairly published excerpts from an e-mail addressed exclusively to Pierson students from Dean Amerigo Fabbri regarding the Halloween party in Pierson College. Parts of the e-mail included in the article were taken out of context and without consideration of the effects the article would have on the Pierson and Yale communities.

The article said that Dean Fabbri condones underage drinking, which is false. Pierson’s SAC chair, Costa Lapaseotes ’08, said “Dean Fabbri has been vigilant in preventing underage drinking at parties.” On occasions when under-21 Pierson students have been found drinking, the dean has directly intervened by citing both the policies of the University and the state. He tells them that they cannot drink and that he must enforce the law. Underage drinking has certainly decreased, due in large part to the dean’s efforts. He continually acts with the best of intentions, attempting to foster an environment of family in which we can all trust each other. The actions of the YDN were detrimental to the college culture we are in the process of establishing.

In publishing the article, the News put Fabbri in trouble with the police, which has exacerbated the problem. Not only did the News anger students who enjoy drinking at Yale, but it angered the Yale Police Department as well. Dean Fabbri’s position is delicate, stuck between the police and the students, and the News’ attempt to secure a sensational story hurt his relationships with both the administration and Pierson students.

The events resulted from a wide lack of communication on the part of both students and administrators; such sentiments were included in Master Goldblatt’s e-mail to Pierson students. The News misrepresented Goldblatt’s point. Either oblivious or apathetic to the wider ramifications of articles that the newspaper publishes, the News made a bad situation worse through its slanted article.

The spin was unnecessary and made to entertain rather than report on the facts of the evening. Had the News truly taken part in investigative journalism, it would have made efforts to get both sides of the story in order to publish an article rather than a gossip column. I respect the News and its attempt to exercise the role of a professional press without cowering away from controversial issues. However, it is also imperative that given its wide readership, the News should not resort to sensationalism.

Audrey Pak ’09 and Aaron Friedman’08

Nov. 1

Pak is the president of the Pierson College Council. Friedman is a senior representative of the Pierson College Council. They are both members of the Pierson Student Activities Committee.

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