Need to hear facts on Wheaton College hazing

Posted10/1/2017 12:01 AM

I'm responding to the letter from Mr. Thompson of South Elgin published online Sept. 24: "Wheaton College Should Be Ashamed."

It should be obvious to those of us who just last week began hearing media reports regarding a shocking incident involving Wheaton College students that we do not possess all the information needed to make determinations about personnel decisions regarding leadership positions at Wheaton College.

It is incumbent upon all people who value education, like Mr. Thompson and me, to recognize and support the value of due process in any matter regarding the administration of justice.

After reading the Wheaton College statement from Sept. 20 and some personal research, I confirmed that there are regulations with respect to disclosing information that could be deemed sensitive about students such as those mandated by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act. Such regulations inform when and what colleges can and cannot do or say. We will certainly learn more about this subject in the coming months.

Going forward, those of us that value education and wish to advance civility must put down the ready-fire-aim approach. Instead, we should wait for all the facts, sides of the story, and the questions to be answered before broadcasting our personal recommendations. Otherwise we expose our biases and motives for demanding an instantaneous sentence of "shame" from the court of public opinion.

Also, I would like to compliment the Daily Herald's reporting around the felony charges being brought against the five Wheaton College students on the football team. The coverage provided by the Daily Herald has been the least confusing of all media sources. Most others opted to sensationalize much of their reporting and headlines which has caused the lines to be blurred between established facts with what has yet to be established as such.

Ken Webster


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