Monday, June 16, 2008

F&M: Stop Hiding From the Media!

Does Franklin & Marshall College think the Gestapo-like treatment of two members of the media on Tuesday, June 3 will soon be forgotten? Its student body isn't yet aware of what took place but they, their parents and the alumnae will when the fall semester begins. And then there likely will be million dollar litigation!

F&M needs to recognize that the incident, largely recorded by video, demonstrated the administration's failure to understand the appropriate use and limits of a private security force, and how poorly trained are the officers to whom parents have entrusted their college age youngsters.

F & M should:

1. Release the official and complete incident and arrest report(s) of Ron Harper, Jr. and Christiaan Hart-Nibbrig. Stop calling it a "privileged document." If the college wants to engage "Special Police" then they should file arrest reports as regular police do.

2. Hold a full and open press conference so all local reporters can ask questions.

3. Make the school officials available to the media for interviews and questioning, including President John Fry and Public Safety Director Maureen Kelly.

4. Allow or require the Public Safety Officers to tell their side of the story, and be open for questions from the media.

5. Explain why Hart-Nibbrig was arrested, held, and released with a Defiant Trespass Notice, when no one has alleged he had trespassed on the grounds of the residence of F&M's president.

If the Public Safety Officers did everything correctly, then present your side.

If the F&M Public Safety Officers made mistakes, admit it and apologize. Even more importantly, assure the students, faculty, alumnae, parents and neighbors that you are going to take corrective actions, including ethics training for Fry and police training for Kelly and the force.

NewsLanc again formally requests interviews of your Public Safety Officers, your Public Safety Director, and the President of F&M.