A journalist’s role is to hold people accountable

Editoral Board

Issue: The Collegian published an article in the April 4 issue that upset several readers.

One of the roles of the media is to keep public officials accountable. In the article “Too many absences for two SA senators,” we did just that.

The Students’ Association bylaws clearly state, “more than three unexcused absences shall be grounds for removal.” Former Sens. Cole Breuer and Jared Ellefson exceeded that limit — Breuer with seven and Ellefson with four.

Those are the facts, and we chose to publish them for two reasons:

1. Attending Senate meetings and voting on the issues is one of the main responsibilities of a senator. SA has its unexcused absence policy for a reason. Breuer and Ellefson were not representing students when they missed those meetings.

2. Ellefson was one of the three candidates running for SA President. If a candidate has four unexcused absences, students should know.

Nothing in the article is incorrect. The letter to the editor in this week’s issue states, “the article itself blatantly calls Ellefson a liar.” We want to respond by saying simply and respectfully, “No, it doesn’t.”

Our reasons for running the article are stated above. We have nothing against Ellefson personally, and there was certainly no intent to attack him.

Our facts about Ellefson were not based on hunches, personal feelings or assumptions. They were based on attendance records and word-for-word accounts from the former SA president and vice president and Ellefson himself.

We understand that the article did not put Ellefson in a positive light. For that, we do sympathize with him, as well as with his close friends who are also upset. But in the end, we printed the truth and sometimes that hurts.

We stand by the article as it was published.

Stance: Journalists play an important role in keeping public officials accountable.

Editorial Board:

Emma DeJong, Editor-in-Chief

Hannah Baker, Managing Editor

Jamison Lamp, Opinion Editor

The editorial board meets and agrees on the issue of the editorial. The editorial represents the opinion of The Collegian.