Recently, The Lamron began publishing the names of perpetrators of local crimes in "The Monitor." There seems to have developed a faction of readers who support the publishing of names, a faction of readers who don't … and a faction that doesn't care either way.
To analyze this situation appropriately, it seems best to first review the purpose of "The Monitor." My understanding is that The Lamron publishes such information to alert the campus community of local crimes, which is valuable information. Given the recent attempted sexual assault on campus, it's necessary for students (and parents) to be familiar with the crime climate at Geneseo. Thus, I support the existence of "The Monitor."
Some argue, however, that "The Monitor" exists purely as entertainment, and well, I also agree with that. It's interesting to see who did what in some sort of drunken state over the weekend. The piece does serve its entertainment purpose.
But is it right to publicize the name of a person who would assuredly be embarrassed by their actions? Doesn't the college's conduct system and village's judicial system appropriately assess a sanction for criminal behavior? Why should The Lamron add public humility to the list?
Notice that if you head to the University Police Web site, information such as the date, time, location, nature and disposition (what ultimately resulted) is reported. Nowhere on the Web site can you find identities. But of course, a police Web site is surely not looking to entertain its visitors. So, what is its purpose? To inform the community. And while The Lamron has the task of informing the community and entertaining them, at whose expense is that achieved?
Remember, too, the information that makes it into The Lamron makes it beyond the borders of our campus. Faculty, staff and administration frequently peruse The Lamron each week. Many of these types of readers are potential on-campus employers or sources for grad school letters of recommendation.
Although the information contained in "The Monitor" isn't published at TheLamron.com, alumni and parents can also get their hands on a hard copy. It's nearly impossible to determine who has read "The Monitor;" keep in mind the effect that can have on its subjects.
So, yeah, reading about others' senseless or emotional acts of stupidity can be the source of good gossip and laughs had by all. Of course, that's until you have a run-in of your own with the law. Sounds a lot like the basic principle regarding JuicyCampus.com, right? So in situations such as this, as human beings coexisting with other human beings, we must ask ourselves not what we are able to publish, but rather what we ought to publish.