I write to express my dismay about the way I was portrayed in Snigdha Sur’s piece about the Divinity School housing from April 20 (“Divinity School housing renovations delayed”), to make a few corrections and to add a little nuance (something not typically valued by the press, I’m told).
I did not realize that the News so valued sensationalism over a balanced account of the situation. I intended to communicate that my feelings about the apartments were largely positive. All this, however, was put aside in favor of a few especially negative quotes, which, when edited together, manage to paint the apartments, the Divinity School, me and the Dominican Republic all in a bad light.
I am not a native of the Dominican Republic, though I grew up there. The particular phrasing at this point in the article is problematic because it seems to imply, first, that Dominicans have low standards and, second, that the Divinity School apartments cannot even satisfy these apparently provincial, third-world standards. In fact, the apartments serve students very well and the administration is attentive to any tenant complaints. (A closet without doors is hardly a quality of life issue, and reminds me of my own undergraduate college, in the United States.)
It is noted that the apartments lack the amenities and frills of undergraduate dorms, which is understandable because they aren’t dorms but apartment buildings. Perhaps 19-year-olds and 26-year-olds look for different things in housing.
I offer no strong opinion about the demolition of the Divinity School apartments, as I believe they do a fine job of housing students.
I understand that “Divinity School housing not that bad” doesn’t make for a great headline, and that sensationalism may be more interesting to read. But I challenge writers and reporters (especially when writing for a college paper) to value accuracy in both their presentation of facts and in the their representation of those they interview.
The writer is a student at the Divinity School.