Editors’ note: This week, we’re welcoming SPLC’s fall interns, Samantha Sunne and Samantha Vicent (that’s not confusing at all, right?). The two will be covering news affecting student media through December, and we’re so excited to have the chance to work with them. Below, meet Vicent:
I am a senior at Oklahoma State University-Stillwater, where I am studying strategic communications. I worked at OSU’s independent student-run newspaper, The Daily O’Collegian, for more than two years as a writer, then managing editor and copy desk chief. I just finished a summer internship at The Tulsa (Okla.) World, a daily newspaper with about 100,000 daily circulation and more than 130,000 circulation on Sundays.
During my time at the O’Collegian, I worked with the Student Press Law Center to resolve controversies involving OSU’s misuse of FERPA and the Clery Act during an internal investigation into multiple alleged sexual assaults committed by a then-student. Local police arrested the suspect five days after they opened their own investigation into the claims, which they only learned of after I questioned them following the receipt of an anonymous email. Three months later, the university’s supervising Board of Regents passed new policies requiring administrators and others at its institutions to notify law enforcement upon hearing sexual assault allegations. The board also created a position for an independent advocate, who will assist students who report such crimes to campus or local officials.
While at the Tulsa World, I completed an enterprise project about understaffing, overtime issues and overcrowding in Oklahoma’s prison system, demonstrating the increased likelihood for disruptive events at state and private prisons as a result. I spent 16 hours total in a medium-security facility following correctional officers during their shifts.
I am most passionate about open records laws, as well as raising awareness about the Clery Act and helping others understand what FERPA does and does not protect. I’ll be covering stories related to public records access and censorship, as well as related legislation. You may reach me by email or phone at (703) 807-1904 ext. 126.