Frat guys, alcohol, firecrackers, football, journalism ethics

A fraternity event.  Alcohol.  Firecrackers.  A football victory.  It’s a common combustible mix at or near college campuses nationwide that turned especially raucous and then arresting this past weekend at Vanderbilt University.  Specifically, 54 students attending a Sigma Chi international frat event near Vandy’s campus were taken into custody by police early Sunday morning for disorderly conduct and underage drinking.


As the excellent aggregator College Rag first reported, the outing and arrests became a student journalism matter two days later when The Vanderbilt Hustler ran a related story and the photo below, a collage of the students’ mug shots.


Sigma Chi Mugshots


Controversy has ensued, with some students and non-students criticizing the mug shot decision as over the top, possibly painting an unfairly criminal portrait of students who simply got a little rowdy.  In response, a Hustler editor noted:


Many are outraged because of a perception that the mug shots were printed to humiliate the students involved. This is simply not true. . . . After the story came to our knowledge . . . The Hustler contacted the Polk County Sheriff’s Office . . . Polk County Clerk of Courts Connie Clark “said her office has processed other large groups on similar charges, but this seems to be a record number of arrests from one group.”  Clearly, an important aspect of the story was the large number of young men that were arrested at a single time. The photo collage captured this aspect.

One Response to “Frat guys, alcohol, firecrackers, football, journalism ethics”
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