Evaluating the University’s sexual misconduct policy

This Michigan Daily article describes how student Emily Campbell’s case of sexual assault did not result in finding her perpetrators guilty of sexual assault because of the lack of verbal dissent.  The author thoroughly reports on the incident, results, and complications which resulted in a lengthy article.  I found the sectioning to be helpful to organize the article.  Do you think that this article would have been more effective in communicating the title of the piece with fewer details about the case?  Should there have been more focus on how the University’s definition of consent is limited and how this affects other cases?  

I was confused by how some of the quotes that appeared in the margins were not from the adjacent paragraph.  Did the repeated quotations add or distract from the article’s message?  Did the author place the quotations to remind readers of statements said before?  

Although the author and the Michigan Daily seemed to find all details possible about the story, they said they failed to interview some of those involved.  Was the lack of information limiting in understanding the story?  Why is the University okay with publishing the article, but not comfortable letting various officials speak?  Do you think there are no comments on the article because of the stigma concerning sexual assault?  

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6 Responses to “Evaluating the University’s sexual misconduct policy”

  1. I think the long-form article was effective and interesting to read because of the way it was written. I agree that the sectioning was especially helpful in transitioning between content in the case. Although it was long and detailed, I think the details were important because it was a court case. The story lies on the details given and provides the reader with the opportunity to draw their own opinion from the information that they are given.

    In terms of the university’s definition of consent, I think that warrants for another article. While it is important to the case and the story, it would also take away from the chronological sequence of events.

    The quotes on the side were important, but poorly organized. A lot of magazines tend to put emphasized quotes where your eye will draw to them before you read the actual text in the article, which can make the order confusing. I though the actual quotes were important in getting certain points across, but should have been better visually organized.

    Failing to interview people involved brings me back to the whole Rolling Stone controversy. Although the Daily has significantly lower readership, I do think it could attack their credibility if what they wrote was fraudulent. However, as the average reader, I think they would have been overwhelmed with too many characters in the story.

  2. I disagree with @dolanec and think that the length of this article was not helpful in telling an effective story. I also found the sections to be confusing and unhelpful because they cut off the flow of the article by chopping up the author’s points. This took away any fluidity that the piece could have had. While sectioning off can be useful in some news pieces, the author did not utilize this organizational structure well. Instead of incorporating transitions to make these sections make logical sense, she would just stop and start a new idea.

    I also think that the lede of the story did not grasp the reader’s attention well. If the author had started the story with the personal account from Campbell, and then focused in on the case and the University’s handling of it, the piece would have been both initially captivating and informational. Instead, the first couple paragraphs fell flat mentioning names and events that she would later return to in full detail. I think that removing the first section of the article would have allowed the story to be less repetitive, and would have produced an interesting lede.

  3. This article covers a very important topic and raises a critical issue. The university needs consistency in what it teaches its students about consent and what will be considered consent during sexual assault hearings. Students can’t be told to advocate for themselves and then completely ignored when they try to do so.
    I thought the article was very well written and detailed, however, I did find myself getting a little mixed up with the various names related to the case. With so many detectives, school officials, parents and other personalities coming in to the picture as the case developed, I found myself having to constantly scroll back through to make sure I could remember who was who.
    Like Erin D., I was also a little disappointed that there were many people who could not be reached for interviews. Although adding more characters to the story can be confusing, I think it can also be helpful to have input and quotes from both sides of a case.

  4. I think that this article had a lot of potential to use this very personal and relevant story from a student at our university to start a dialogue about sexual assault on college campuses, but the article definitely could have been more effective. I agree with Hadley that the length of the article was very distracting and hard to follow, and while I appreciate the author’s commitment to telling a very detailed and thorough story, it was confusing and could have been much shorter. I believe that the title “Student Challenges University’s Sexual Assault Policies” is not representative of the article because of the excessive amount of details, because it draws the whole story into Campbell’s specific case and story and not enough about the university’s sexual assault policies as a whole. I would have liked to see this story expand more on other cases and how the university’s policies and definitions of consent affected their outcomes.

    I think the lack of comments on the article might have less to do with the stigma surrounding sexual assault as a whole, but more about the deeply personal nature of the story and the fact that it was entirely written about a case involving one of our own fellow students.

  5. With such an important topic directed at an invested audience and setting, the author has the obligation to cover the relevant information to bring justice to the significance of the issue. The author does a good job of outlining the information to make the information easier to follow. The large amount of subjects, sources, and the overwhelming amount of facts, however, often led to some confusion and trouble with comprehension. I think the message could’ve better been constructed if the author focused the article on the more pertinent data and quotations.

    The article had a lot of information to present the victim’s story with thorough detail. The lack of interviews and quotations from the defendants and their representation made for an almost incomplete feature. The article title and delivery do a great job of presenting the issue and inconsistency with defining consent and dissent between university leaders. This article makes way for another more argumentative piece to investigate and uncover this problem and controversy at Michigan.

  6. This article includes many quotes but I think some of these quotes are unnecessary. The article should more focus on the definition of consent and where inequity arises.
    The repeated quotations are the original information that the article try to convey, but they do not add anything new to the article and is distracting when reading the texts.
    This article is very long and the topic itself is relevant to only few people. This may explain the fact there is no comment.

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