To the Writers and Editors at the Berkshire Eagle:
The Affinity groups of color, in collaboration with the community at Simon’s Rock, demand that you issue a full retraction of your article—“Police: Alleged Attack on Simon’s Rock Campus not Racially Motivated”. The title of this article perpetuates narratives that survivors of incidents should not be believed. We do not believe that the content of your article, in which you essentially claim that the investigation is ongoing and that there are no definite conclusions, matches the title of your article which implies that the incident is definitely not a hate crime. This title willfully misinforms and is a gross malpractice in journalism. When people see the headline of this article, they may not read the rest of the article. They may assume the title as conclusive and complete proof that this was not a hate crime. We would also like to highlight the manners by which this article, in its verbiage, could create a sense of safety and comfort in the local community that may not be justified. Members of the community should not be encouraged to disregard any concern for the safety of themselves and those around them.
The first quote from the article demonstrates how journalistically irresponsible the article is in conveying factual information to the public. First, you cite Chief William Walsh’s claim that, “Investigators have not discovered anything that would lead them to conclude that this was a racially motivated incident”, which insinuates that the police have concluded that there is not a basis for the incidents at Simon’s Rock to be considered a hate crime. This quote also indicates that information could still be acquired, but this possibility was not mentioned. The writer follows the quote with citing Berkshire State Police Detective Unit who says, “We're talking to people, chasing down leads” which implies that the investigation has not progressed to the point where a conclusion on whether or not this is a hate crime could be, which is the antithesis of the title.
For these reasons, we demand that this article be retracted in full by the Berkshire Eagle.