Letter from the Editor

Bias & the square

Let’s talk, for a moment, about bias.

For their first issue of the semester, the square published the article ‘Greek Life on Campus.’ On its own, the article was rather benign. The author, Simon Ciccarillo, did a good job outlining his personal beliefs about Greek Life at Dickinson. He brought up supporting facts and even took time to give a few sympathetic points.

Still, the article earned its fair share of bile from the campus. Why? Because, beneath the headline, was attached the simple phrase: “…Or How I Discovered Rufilin.”

For people not in the know (Or people who haven’t watched The Hangover) Rufilin is a tongue-in-cheek term for Rohypnol, the date-rape drug. And the addition of that line was a not-so tongue-in-cheek way to call members of Dickinson’s Greek Life date-rapists.

That’s all it took to cast a shadow on Ciccarillo’s article. The line helped destroy any discussion the writer could have started with his piece before the reader even had a chance to read the first paragraph.

And he didn’t even write the line.

This week the square released its second issue. And, in an admirable attempt to try and open dialogue again, it ran a piece from Molly Kramer in response to Ciccarillo’s article.

Kramer is a member of a sorority at Dickinson. Despite that, however, she kept her piece calm. She admitted that the previous article had some correct points before offering an intelligent counter-argument. She explained what good Greek Life can do on campus and even tackled a few stereotypes that Ciccarillo brought up.

The article ran under the headline ‘The Other Greek Life.’ And under that? ‘…Or How I Pledged My Life Away.’

Kramer, who did not write the second line, was furious. According to the author, the square’s staff had added the little addendum during production. And, by adding the line, thumbed its nose at Kramer’s attempt at civil discussion.

I will be the first to admit that the square serves a valuable purpose on Dickinson. It is an open forum that allows people to discuss topics that we, as The Dickinsonian, are unable to print. It is a free source for ideas and debate and thought.

But it’s rather hard to have a civil discussion when you are ridiculed for having beliefs that go against the editorial board’s opinions.

My irritation towards the square is the same as my irritation towards Fox News. My irritation towards MSNBC. Partisan information is a blasphemous sin for an organization that wants to inform and educate. It is the death knell for free discussion.

An independent magazine doesn’t need to be a partisan magazine.