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AU paper penning apology for date-rape column

Jenna Johnson

CampusMedia.jpgEditors at the American University student newspaper, The Eagle, said Tuesday they plan to write an apology to those who were harmed or upset by a column that called date rape "an incoherent concept." I wrote an article for this morning's newspaper that recaps the situation.

In doing so, though, the editors maintain that they had every right to publish the column. The paper decided to publish the column because editors thought there was a legitimate debate to be had about date rape on campus, said editor in chief Jen Calantone.

But if they had to do it again, "We would have done it differently," she said. "We are college students... We are still learning our craft."

On Wednesday afternoon, the student newspaper posted a letter from university administrators about the column.

The Eagle staff is also revamping its policy for columnists. When editors decided to publish the column, there were only two guiding questions: Does the columnist ask a rational question? Did the columnist take a stance on the issue?

Now they are thinking of adding a third criteria: Is this a coherent and reasonable argument?

The columnist, Alex Knepper, will not lose his job at the student newspaper but he has agreed to abide by the new guidelines, Calantone said. Knepper has also decided not to reapply for a columnist position next semester, she said.

The controversy over the column has been reported by a number of television stations, blogs and other news outlets. An American student has compiled a list of all of the coverage on Facebook.

The media storm and student backlash has been devastating to The Eagle staff, said Charlie Szold, managing editor for news.

"We're not here to be the news," he said. "For one column to destroy everything that we've worked on for a whole year is frustrating."

Updated at 6:39 p.m. to include letter from administrators.

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By Jenna Johnson  |  March 31, 2010; 10:03 AM ET
Categories:  Campus Media  | Tags: American  
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Comments

I wish the Post would use the standard of "Is this a coherent and reasonable argument?" for their columnists. It would keep most of the gas from Krauthammer, Thiessen, Kristol, and the Post's other right-wingnuts out of the paper.

Posted by: rashomon | March 31, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

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