Tufts magazine faces student's libel allegation





MASSACHUSETTSThe Primary Source just cannot catch a break. After beating sexual harassment charges and stopping a series of thefts, the conservative magazine at Tufts University in Medford is now the subject of a libel claim.

Iris Halpern, the senior who alleged the magazine harassed her last fall, filed a complaint with the dean's office on April 1 claiming the magazine libeled her and retaliated against her for having filed the sexual harassment charges.

The conflict between Halpern and The Primary Source dates back to Oct. 11, when the magazine included a cartoon and remarks satirizing the Student Labor Activist Movement, a group of which Halpern is a member. Halpern then filed a sexual harassment complaint against the magazine, but it was dismissed on Nov. 5.

The Source later printed an anonymous letter that claimed Halpern had sexually harassed the author of the letter at a campus party. The Source independently verified the letter writer's account before printing it, editor Sam Dangremond said.

But the author of the letter has since recanted portions of the allegations in her letter, Dangremond told the Report, leading to Halpern's libel claim.

The Source cannot afford legal help.

"We are going to be presenting our case on our own essentially after having quite a bit of practice on this kind of thing," Dangremond said.

The Source's other problems occurred from November through January, when about 5,100 copies of five different issues were stolen or vandalized.

The magazine later obtained an e-mail in which Carl Jackson, president of the Pan-African Alliance, admitted to one of the thefts. Dangremond said university authorities have verified the authenticity of the e-mail and that Jackson will face disciplinary charges when he returns from his semester abroad.


reports, Spring 2002