After much discussion, the editorial staff made the decision that we could not run the Letter to the Editor sent to us on Dec. 2 from professor Sha’Dawn Battle and her English 327 class without having a discussion with the Wittenberg Police Department.
It is necessary for our staff to tell all sides of the story. The police were accused, by these students, of inappropriate action and they should be held accountable if the situations were as described. However, it was not equitable to deny the Police Division and Chief Hutchins a chance to respond to the claims students have leveled against them. Given that the Dec. 5 issue was our last edition of Fall term, had we printed the letter, the police would have been unable to respond in The Torch for nearly two months.
Instead of running the letter in the Dec. 5 issue, we are running it today in our first edition of the spring semester. It begins with an introduction from Dr. Battle, which leads to the letter itself, which was written in Black English. We also have an online feature about the guidelines for writing in Black English. Today’s edition includes a response from Chief Hutchins, which tells the police department’s side of the story. In addition, we produced two other pieces about the discrimination black students face on campus, as well as the formation of the new campus diversity committee. We recognize that this was not what many wanted to hear and our decision had an impact on both our classmates and those who gave testimonies.
We would like to emphasize that we in no way are discounting these students’ accounts. As fellow Witt students, we want an equitable campus to come to fruition, but this cannot happen unless we as a campus recognize both sides of a story.