American University newspaper responds to controversy surrounding column

WASHINGTON -- The American University student newspaper, The Eagle, published an apology today for the controversy caused by the Tuesday column that addressed the issue of consent in date rape situations.

"We apologize for any harm we have caused as a result of the choice to publish," Eagle Editor-in-Chief Jen Calantone said.

The apology defends the Eagle's right and decision to publish controversial and "potentially offensive" material. However, it also says the column in question, written by Alex Knepper, should have been "more thoroughly edited." Also printed in today's paper were many letters to the editor regarding the column.

Vice President of Campus Life Gail Short Hanson and the university's Provost Scott A. Bass wrote a letter that was posted on the Eagle's Web site addressing the editorial rights the Eagle has, and the responsibility inherent in exercising them.

The university's letter also mentions a new "enhanced statement of rights, responsibilities and resources related to sexual misconduct" that is currently under review at the university.

The Eagle staff has planned a public forum for Monday, April 5, during which Calantone said she hopes the issues in the column will be the focus, and not the decision the paper made to publish it.

"We're trying to get people from all sides. It's just more or less going to be a conversation. Whether people want to talk about why we published, or if people want to talk about the issue ... I really hope they do focus more on the issue of date rape and kind of provide resources for each other and just create a conversation around the issue, rather than our editorial decision," Calantone said.

Editorial policies regarding columns run in the Eagle are under review as well, Calantone said. She also said she hopes the forum will help reshape this issue into something productive.

"We're looking forward to reshaping the dialogue into something that's positive rather than something that's negative," she said.

American University, news, The Eagle, Washington D.C.