As noted in today’s stories “Student arrested for defrauding Yale” and “Case suggests vulnerability,” the News has chosen to withhold the identity of the former Morse College student who was arrested in September for allegedly defrauding Yale in his transfer application. Since it is not the usual policy of the News — or of newspapers in general — to refrain from reporting the names of individuals arrested for crimes of conceivable interest to the public, the decision warrants additional explanation.
Above all, we are withholding the name of the student because of his documented emotional instability, illustrated by his history of suicide threats and hospital stays. This rationale also strikes at the core of the story’s newsworthiness, which centers on the fact that a student allegedly defrauded Yale — and not on that particular student’s identity. While this alone would not typically justify withholding a name, the psychological state of the suspect in this particular case, and the fact that he was arrested months ago, does.