On Page 1 of this publication, one of our reporters wrote a story on the sexual assault indictment of Jacob Windsor, who was enrolled as an ACU student last semester.
Though we as staff realize the sensitivity of this story and of the allegations in the indictment, we determined it was important enough information to share with the student body because:
- We, as a student-led publication, are here to hold our university’s students, faculty and staff responsible for their actions.
- We are setting a standard for what can be covered in the future.
- We think it is important to give potential victims a voice and allow them to speak out against offenders in the future.
- This is practice for us as student reporters to learn how to report similar instances outside of the university in a fair, unbiased and accurate story.
- Sexual assault is a real offense at this university and universities around the United States and is a topic of significant media attention. So much so that ACU’s office of Student Life is asking that students participate in sexual assault training courses and plan to make it a requirement for all incoming freshmen this fall.
- To not cover sexual assault allegations, or to ignore them, would be equivalent to endorsing the actions of the accused.
We realize an indictment is nothing but a grand jury’s determination of probable cause in the case and a call of the defendant to court. In this case, as in other defendant’s indictment cases, Windsor may in fact be found not guilty. If that is the case, the jury’s decision will also find its way into our publication.
We will not, however, refrain from writing on and publishing such indictments based on a certain student’s, staff’s or faculty’s popularity throughout the university.
The news is not that Windsor is guilty. The news is that the case against Windsor has enough evidence for a grand jury to determine probable cause. The news is that students at this university are capable of sexually assaulting others. The news is that people at this university are capable of being sexually assaulted. The news is what we cover and not what we want to hide.
Let me tell you why all your points are invalid:
1. It is unknown whether or not Windsor committed this crime, so to say that you hold people responsible is unfair. Windsor is innocent until proven guilty
2. If the standard is to decimate ACU students then the optimist is not a news paper that I want to read, because this article did nothing but slander and decimate Windsor’s name.
3. Absolutely allow victims to speak out! I think that is very important, but posting an indictment about a fellow ACU student is not the way to go about that.
4. The optimist is a Christian based news paper, and to “practice” indictments on fellow ACU students seems far from ethical.
5. Absolutely sexual assault is a real problem on all college campuses, including ACU. Posting an indictment about a student that may or may not be true is not raising awareness, it is decimating and slandering. If Windsor is charged, then absolutely post this to raise awareness. Until then, it is completely unethical to decimate and slander a young mans name in front of all his peers.
6. This is an indictment!! Not a charge!! If he was charged and you did not post this, then I agree with #6 .
To say that not posting an indictment is the same as endorsing sexual assault is extremely far fetched.
An apology to Windsor is in order here. I would not be surprised if Windsor looked into to pressing charges for slander. Even though this is public information, there is no need to rub it in the face of all his peers.
I only have one word for this… Unbelievable.
Excuse my use of charged in number 6. I meant proven guilty. And let me also be clear that if he has been proven guilty that I am completely behind posting this in the Optimist.