Red & Black Editor in Chief Resigns After Football Incident

Update, December 1st: The paper’s EIC apparently smuggled a Vodka bottle into the president’s box, in violation of the stadium’s alcohol policy.  According to one witness, he was also “stumbling around,” sporting a slightly unkempt appearance, and engaging in periodic “sloppy rambling” while speaking with others in the box. Read more here.

The editor in chief of The Red & Black, the student newspaper at the University of Georgia, has resigned after allegedly violating the alcohol policy at UGA’s football stadium during Saturday’s game against Georgia Tech.

According to a Red & Black report, the EIC was asked to leave the university president’s box at Sanford Stadium for behavior described by one school official as “disruptive.”  The EIC, 22, confirmed he had been drinking alcohol at a tailgating event prior to the game, but did not feel he was being a nuisance to the president, Georgia governor Sonny Perdue, governor-elect Nathan Deal or others in the box.

In his words, “I think someone smelled the vodka [on his breath].  I was talking to people, I don’t believe I was being disruptive. But they have the right to escort anybody out. I don’t have a problem with that.

A letter of apology, from the Red & Black publisher to UGA’s president: “It is disappointing enough when young adults make bad choices, but when those actions then impact the integrity of the institution they represent, it makes an already bad decision that much worse.  I can only hope [the EIC] and the rest of our staff take away a valuable learning experience from this unfortunate incident- one that will surely haunt [the EIC] and the Red & Black for many years to come.”

My take: I’m sad about this.  This is a promising journo who has worked his way up the hierarchy of a top student paper and obviously earned enough respect from students and the editor selection committee to accrue a major leadership position. The murkiness of the details available at this point about his moment of indiscretion makes it difficult to judge.

On spec, it comes across like a case of a young man simply being a bit too animated while intoxicated.  Given the setting and assemblage, it is embarrassing certainly.  But should it really prompt resignation?  As the EIC said, “I apologized. I made a mistake.  But I never would have thought it would blow up to this.”

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