American University newspaper responds to controversy surrounding column

WASHINGTON — The American University student newspaper, TheEagle, published an apology todayfor the controversy caused by the Tuesday column that addressed the issue ofconsent in date rape situations.

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

The apology defends the Eagle’s right and decision to publishcontroversial and “potentially offensive” material. However, it alsosays the column in question, written by Alex Knepper, should have been”more thoroughly edited.” Also printed in today’s paper weremany letters to the editor regarding the column.

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

The university’s letter also mentions a new “enhanced statementof 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 thefocus, and not the decision the paper made to publish it.

“We’re trying to get people from all sides. It’s justmore or less going to be a conversation. Whether people want to talk about whywe published, or if people want to talk about the issue … I really hope theydo focus more on the issue of date rape and kind of provide resources for eachother and just create a conversation around the issue, rather than our editorialdecision,” Calantone said.

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

“We’re looking forward to reshaping the dialogue intosomething that’s positive rather than something that’snegative,” she said.