A Note on “‘Camel Chat’ Censored” and the REAL Office

Regarding the concerns voiced by Dean Rothenberger and REAL Office policies:


For starters, I want to make one thing as clear as possible: Max’s article in the last issue is not a piece of news reportage, nor does it pretend to be. Max’s article is an opinionated piece written through first-person narrative and published in the Arts section. Arts, as I’ve stated before, publishes both opinionated and non-opinionated work. It is a space for student creation and reflection, and Max’s piece embodies that: one student’s reflection on another’s creation. Its placement on the front page is also nothing new. As a small student newspaper not confined to the strict regulations of a larger, for-profit media source, we put content from all sections on the front page, allowing readers to discern their particular sections when they flip to each article’s continuation. If the printed section title in the top right hand corner of the page isn’t clear enough, I’m sorry, but I trust that most of our readers can figure it out.

But yes, Max should’ve contacted the REAL Office. While he would’ve had a clearer picture and a stronger argument had he included more angles, the story wasn’t there yet when it came time to print. That’s why we acknowledged in the editor’s note accompanying “‘Camel Chat’ Censored” that Max’s investigative work was not done. He had one interview, showing one side of the story, and that side and his interpretation of it were worth getting out. For News, this would not have flown, but for Arts, it sufficed.

We did then ask the REAL Office for a comment or to participate in an interview, hoping to show another angle in the following issue. Dean Rothenberger, however, declined to comment, and stated that her letter would serve as her comment on the matter. She also encouraged me to look up REAL staff’s social media policy, which she claimed was available online. In the Voice office, we decided to check.

As Max and I scoured the College student and employee handbooks and searched CamelWeb, ConnQuest and the REAL Office webpage, we failed to find a social media statement. It’s not in the Floor Governor Agreement, and when I asked an anonymous housefellow, they knew of no official social media policy for REAL staff. What Max and I did find, though, was the REAL Office’s constitution, which is available to be viewed by all ConnQuest users under the organization’s “Documents” tab. While student organizations’ constitutions run multiple pages in length and contain at least nine required articles, the REAL Office, though not a student organization, offers their own constitution as a stark contrast. It’s two sentences. It’s in TextEdit. Check it out.