During the last couple of days, I have received a number of letters concerning the Daily Lobo’s choice to run “personal” details about the death of student Garrett Elders.
A lot of people have questioned our decision and have called it “vulgar and inappropriate,” and I see where they are coming from.
However, I want to inform you all that the decision to publish personal details concerning his death was heavy on our minds. We would have preferred not to, but given the context of the situation, we deemed it necessary.
At the time of our publication, no cause of death had been established. In fact, there is still no official cause of death.
Suicide is suspected by some, but again I would urge readers to remember that no official cause of death has been issued.
No one on campus knew what was going on, except that there was a death at a fraternity, Sigma Chi. Moreover, this is a group with a troubled history on this campus.
In an effort to end the conjecture which could arise from these circumstances, we chose to include the most pertinent details. Imagine if we had just reported that there was a death at Sigma Chi, and that a student was found dead in his room.
Imagine if we had given no name, no reason as to why he wasn’t found for two days. Instead, the specter of an unknown death would loom over our campus.
Rumors would fly wildly about, and incorrect stories and perceptions about what really happened would have taken away from the seriousness of a fellow student’s death and caused panic.
In publishing only part of the story, we would have caused more controversy for the already grieving friends and family. We had no desire to create more problems than need be, thus our choice to publish a few clarifying details.
I also want to point out that our publication was the first to break this story, and the one who has dedicated the most time and space to covering Elders’ death.
We understand and acknowledge that his death is an important issue to the community — and us — and we’ll continue to cover this story as it develops.
In short, the purpose of this column isn’t for justification of our actions, but clarification of reader concerns.
We all offer our sympathy to the friends and family of Elders, and we urge you to stick with us for any further developments.