Jones ’11 explains view of ‘Scouting Report’

After Ward 1 aldermanic hopeful Mike Jones ’11 provided a quote to NBC Connecticut to dismiss the controversial “Scouting Report,” he later asserted in a e-mail to the Women’s Center on Friday that his statement had been misrepresented.

In an article published Friday morning by the local news station, Jones appeared to excuse the creators of the “Scouting Report,” a circulating e-mail that rates the attractiveness of a number of freshman females. He was quoted as saying: “They’re college kids. Everybody is entitled to a mistake. I just hope the list doesn’t hurt anyone who’s on it.” Now, Jones — who had been interviewed as he was standing in front of Phelps Gate and who had not been identified in the article as a political candidate — maintains that his quote was taken out of context.

“Within the context of the article, and as I am sure that you can see, I am portrayed as an apologist of the e-mail’s original authors,” Jones wrote in his e-mail to Women’s Center Constituency Coordinator Rhiana Gunn-Wright ’11 on Friday. “That portrayal is wholly and completely inaccurate.”

Jones wrote that his statement was in response to a specific question about whether he was surprised that the “Scouting Report” incident occurred at Yale. Because he said he has witnessed numerous acts of racism and sexism on campus in his two years at Yale, he had answered that the e-mail had not surprised him.

Jones added in a Sunday interview: “Just because I wasn’t surprised doesn’t mean I found it appropriate, or that I wasn’t outraged by [the e-mail].”

Gunn-Wright said Jones immediately made it clear to the Women’s Center that he was outraged by the “Scouting Report” e-mail. Jones was one of the first men to sign up to lead a discussion group for the “Let’s Talk About Sex” event held by the Women’s Center Sunday afternoon, she said.

Jones said he does not plan to contact the station for a correction of the article. Still, the NBC Connecticut article may have a lasting negative effect on Jones’ political career — after winning the Ward 1 endorsement vote in April, Jones is the frontrunning student candidate in November’s general election.

Alexandra Hess ’12, a participant in Sunday’s “Let’s Talk About Sex” event, said her eight-person discussion group conferred about Jones’ quote. Hess said the members of her groups were dismayed at the “boys will be boys” attitude evident therein. No one in the group knew that Jones’ quote was perhaps a misrepresentation, Hess said.

“People were just upset that it seemed that he wasn’t taking [the “Scouting Report”] seriously,” Hess said. “We want our authority figures to stand up for us.”

Comments

  • BR 2010

    I really don’t understand Jones’ explanation for his quote at all. I have no idea how the quote, “They’re college kids. Everybody is entitled to a mistake” can be interpreted in any other way other than that Jones thinks this is no big deal. If you’re not surprised that something happened you say “this is reprehensible, but I’m not surprised that it happened.” You don’t just brush it aside and say that people are entitled to mistakes.

  • Mike Jones

    Perhaps your statement would be true if my quote was given in response to a question about the actual e-mail or the authors thereof.

    However, the question was about whether or not I was surprised that something like this could happen on a college campus. As I have said repeatedly, I was not surprised because we are on a college campus where people make mistakes — outrageous mistakes, perhaps, but mistakes nonetheless.

    I spent the entire interview preceding the published excerpt denouncing the actions of those who wrote the e-mail, and I think that I have sufficiently explained my own actions since.

    If you, or any other member of our community, is still confused about what I may or may not be thinking, then you should feel free to e-mail me. I’m sure that I can be more informative than your presumptions.

  • Minnie

    I’m so glad I didn’t vote for this guy. He clearly doesn’t care about sexism and was just a prestige-hungry sophomore who wanted to add a title to his resume.

  • CC’09

    Yes, clearly he’s just covering his tracks now.

    I just hope he’ll take the time to reflect on why his attitude is problematic, rather than simply coming to the conclusion that it’s not OK to say such things in public.

  • observer

    Jones isn’t just “the frontrunning student candidate” in the race– he’s the only candidate!

  • Y ’10

    @ Mike Jones

    I completely understand that it is frustrating that your interview was not displayed in its entirety. However, your statement is problematic even in the context you describe. You didn’t just say that it’s unsurprising that college kids make mistakes, you said they are “entitled to a mistake.” There is a very important difference. People are not entitled to harass and objectify their peers for any reason. I don’t care that they’re college kids, they should already know not to make those kinds of mistakes.

  • anon

    I agree with #6 – Jones’ explanation of his comment simply doesn’t address its most problematic aspects. Worse yet, in my opinion, is the haughty and condescending tone with which he’s dealing with this criticism, as if anyone who doesn’t immediately accept his explanation is either malicious or stupid. I actually figured Jones was the better of three evils last spring, but this latest episode just underscores what a mess the whole thing is.

  • Mike Jones

    @ Y’10

    The truth is that I’m not a professional officeholder, and I don’t have a press shop to ensure that my quotes are always fairly presented, or even that they achieve my intended effect without ambiguity. Sometimes, like anyone else, I fail to unambiguously say what I intend — even without the cynicism of the uninformed.

    This will be the last time that I address this publicly, but as always, I am more than happy to sit down with any individuals or groups who still have concerns about what I may feel or think about this (or any other) issue. If you’re really that concerned, I’m sure you’ll accept my invitation.

  • Senior

    I’m sorry but if you are running for public office, it’s unreasonable to think that everyone who has a “concern” is going to sit down privately with X public officeholder and talk it out. Public officeholder equals public criticism….and ideally this should also equal well-thought out public comments. (As a sidenote, I do understand that it is unfortunate for public officeholders when they genuinely misspeak and have to suffer the consequences of things they truly didn’t mean to say…speaking in public is hard, and perhaps Mike Jones truly did misspeak – I honestly don’t know; it’s a personal judgment call for everyone). Nevertheless, the bottom line is if you voluntarily put yourself in the spotlight, you’re going to get some bad press if you say something stupid, and it’s not the right approach to vilify people who are discussing public officeholders they way they ought to be discussed – publicly.

  • Common Sense

    Seriously? This freshman scouting report thing is old news. There are many issues where an Alderman’s opinion matters. Some email that a couple of idiots wrote in between shots of Jack last month is not one of those issues.

    These people at the Women’s Center need to get it through their heads that they can’t convert every jackass out there, and they certainly can’t expect everyone else’s help in doing so.

    Where was the Women’s Center when the Ledbetter fair pay law was before Congress? That was pretty big for equal pay for women, and I didn’t hear a peep from them about it. Instead, all I hear is whining about what some mean boys did. It’s a bit sad.

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