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President Rochon Responds to ''Final Word'' Essay

Dear ICView Readers,

The most recent issue of ICView, which many of you have received, included a story by Emily McNeill '08 in the "Final Word" section of the magazine (a link to the article is provided below). In her story Emily recounts her experiences this past summer in the West Bank. I have heard from many alumni — many who support Emily’s right to express her views and many who are upset that we published this story that clearly represents only one view of the situation in that region. There is an appropriate way to discuss controversial issues in the alumni magazine, a way to share with you the academic dialogue on campus, the experiences and opinions of our students and alumni surrounding an issue.  However, in this case we failed to do so in a fully balanced and unbiased manner.

There are processes for editorial review of articles in ICView and they were not followed in this situation. We are taking action to strengthen our processes around the review of content for ICView. This includes a stronger internal editorial review policy as well as creating an editorial board that will review all relevant content of the magazine.

It is certainly the role of institutions of higher education to raise the level of debate around all controversial subjects. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is no exception and is undoubtedly debated on this campus in classrooms, lecture halls, and countless dorm rooms. Moving forward, we will continue to look for ways to encourage such dialogues on campus without presenting them in a way that implies they are the “IC View”

I thank all of you for your ongoing support of
Ithaca College.

Sincerely,

Tom Rochon
President


"Final Word" essay "The Violence Must End."

ICView editor's apology



40 Comments

Truthfully, I feel that journalism's focus on being unbiased obscures the truth behind issues. Emily needn't have been unbiased in her article - that was what was happening around her, and around her was a very biased world. Rather than apologize for the article, be proud of it. And then have someone write a response in the next ICView.

President Rochon's response to a well-written and thoughtful article reflects very poorly on a school that prides itself on its journalism program. Unbiased journalism does not exclude pieces that describe the experiences of one group of people. Emily is clear in her article that there are other sides and perspectives at play here, though these were beyond the scope of her descriptive article. Look at recent coverage of the Gaza conflict in any major news source and you will find pieces, like Emily's, whose objective is to describe for the reader the daily experience of one group that is affected by this complicated conflict. President Rochen should be proud that his alumni are seeking out and writing about many perspectives. I am confident a similar piece from the Israeli perspective would be welcomed by Emily's critics. Perhaps you could seek one out.

I must admit, I'm rather ashamed of this official, political response to Emily McNeill's article. As a former Ithaca College journalism student, I was proud to see Emily's piece in IC View. Yes, it caused some controversy, but the most important issues often do. Emily was not so much expressing biased "views" as she was reporting real events that continue to take place. The main-stream media has been relatively quiet on the Palestinian side of this complex issue. To tiptoe around an entire half of reality, just because it might upset some people, is to choose ignorance. That should not be an "IC View."

This reactionary response is something I would expect from a high school principal, not a college president.

Tell me, President Rochon, is it even possible to discuss something as inflammatory and complex as the Middle East crisis in a "fully balanced and unbiased manner"? Paging Roger Ailes!

Personally, I have enjoyed reading these first-person opinion pieces in "IC View." I have never mistaken these authors' opinions -- which I often do not agree with -- as the official stance of Ithaca College. And I doubt any other mature reader would.

The best college alumni magazines are those which provoke and sustain discussion on the difficult issues of the day, and how those issues pertain to their own campus audience(s). This is basic journalism practice.

Perhaps Penn State's magazine shouldn't have covered the ethics surrounding stem cell research? Maybe the University of Illinois at Chicago shouldn't have published an article questioning the future of public higher education? Should Duke not have run a story examining the incident when several of its lacrosse players were falsely accused of sexual misconduct?

I hope that's not the case, because each of the above was recognized as among the best articles that appeared in college magazines in 2008. Each tackled a tough issue that rages to this day. And I doubt the presidents of any of those schools issued an apology for printing them.

I am shocked that the president of Ithaca College would issue such a statement. Mr. Rochon, please specifically identify exactly which lines in the article are to be seen as offensive. The era of Bush is over and we are now back on the road to protecting and celebrating free speech. After reading the president's response, I really find myself wondering what his views on the first amendment are.

I feel sorry for anyone teaching journalism at Ithaca College now. When the president of the college issues statements like this I am sure they do not feel secure in their jobs (if they are really teaching journalism).

I feel Mr. Rochon should retract, clarify or adjust this statement of apology.

You come to expect a certain degree of pomposity from the upper tier administrators of an academic institution. The four years I spent at Ithaca are no exception. But outright ignorance about journalistic objectivity and pathetically fearful apologetic responses from IC's own President are not only deplorable, they are frightening.

Especially frightening is that "there are processes for editorial review of articles in ICView and they were not followed in this situation." What exactly are the processes and where are they printed? It seems THEY should be the texts under review.

Outrageous.


I commend Emily McNeill's perseverance to practice free speech, develop an opinion and ultimately share her personal story in a publication seen by many. I am sure, that just like myself, in Emily's time at IC she honed these skills and was taught to continue using them once graduating... for we are told we go to college to be more prepared and able to act as individuals once we graduate. I believe this is what she was doing with her article. For President Tom Rochon to want to censor that, to eliminate that dialogue because he believes it was done in an an inappropriate way is preposterous! Emily has opened a dialogue plain and simple, in the ways she was taught at IC. ICView should be a place where alumni are encouraged to publish material and debate in the was we were taught to at Ithaca College. I think it's clear to any level headed person that articles read in ICView are not specifically the opinions of the entire Ithaca College community (because that's an impossibility we all have learned). It is "a" view, not "the" view. (Maybe the name of the magazine should be changed to "ICViews" if there is some confusion.)

It's all relevant. It should all be heard.

Mr. Rochon, I hope you take a hard look at the responses you’ve received and come understand how deeply you’ve misinterpreted the concept of bias.

I can only hope that your views are not shared by Dean Lynch, as this would be a depressing precedent for current and future Park School students.

It is sad to think that IC now operates like a corporate, PR-driven machine and not the open-minded place of learning I loved.

I admit to bias: I am Emily McNeill's mother. I am proud of Emily's talent, but more so of her courage in going to a dangerous place, and then reporting with balance and compassion uncomfortable but vital facts to an audience that needs to hear them. I realize that ICView is one of several keys to retaining alumni enthusiasm for the school, which can be translated into practical support. However, ICView should not bury its head in the sand and disown one of its own when that person, trained at IC to be a thoughtful, accurate, courageous reporter, dares to identify a tragedy as such. As US citizens, we have a responsibility to understand the many effects, good and bad, of our nation's policy in the Middle East, and the influence we can bring to bear to reduce suffering there. As the main supporter and friend in the world of Israel, we have an obligation to insist that it rein in the extremists in their midst whose actions jeopardize any hope for peace. Good friends don't let good friends ignore their own destructive behaviors. (If the US similarly supported Hamas, we would have a special responsibility to insist that they rein in their violent ways.) One can hope that there are thoughtful and courageous IC alumni who are grateful that ICView did not shy away from truth-telling. I hope that President Rochon reconsiders his response.

I have rather different view. Though I liked Emily's piece, I do not see why an alumni magazine should have political commentary. People read it for news of old friends and colleagues. They want to see updates on the college. Politics is divisive and that is not really the purpose of this kind of magazine.

The solution is not censorship or balance. There ought to be a few places where political commnetary should be avoided.

I found Emily's column compelling. I read her article not as a journalist but an advocate for people who were/are suffering. Her bias's were clearly articulated - laying blame assertively upon extremest settlers and inhumane Israeli defense forces, among others. Perhaps the article betrayed Emily's desire and effort to land, not in the otherwise extremely complex landscape of conflict, but in the neutral territory of justice.

I did not find the article to be particularly appropriate for IC View - a showcase for the vitality, intellect, and engagement of the IC community in the world. The same article, written differently might have been more appropriate and more effective if it were written without some of the judgment or written as a more reflective piece. But that is a decision Emily made as an educated and practiced journalist.

Nevertheless, let the readership respond - complain, debate, criticize, etc.

The IC View staff very clearly demonstrated that IC is dedicated to, and having success in achieving its mission: "fostering intellectual growth, aesthetic appreciation, and character development in our students" and that "all members of the College community are encouraged to achieve excellence in their chosen fields and to share the responsibilities of citizenship and service in the global community."

In response to the Anonymous comment made at 12:16 AM, I think that is a personal opinion of the use of ICView. In addition to that, Emily's article is a summary of her experiences as an IC alum in a situation that many of us have not encountered. It was not overtly political, and while it may have been upsetting to some, she was sharing with us her perspective, her point of view.

President Rochon,

My impression is that the "Final Word" section of the magazine is a place for opinion, for essay, for reflection. We should be proud of Emily's piece.

Emily's essay was just that, an essay. It was not a news feature or an investigative report. It was printed in an area of the magazine where other faculty and alumni have told us of revolution in Ukraine, the impending environmental crisis, and other not so easy subject. Emily told us about her experience in a single region and gave us her impressions on her limited time there. It was fascinating, and difficult, to read. So don't apologize for provoking discussion and thought -- that is your job. You should be encouraging our students and alumni to have discussions around tough topics, not making it more difficult for them to do so. We should be looking for other students to tell us about their experiences in the region and we should be cultivating a vigorous debate on how we can bring peace to a region where so many, young and old, Palestinian and Israeli, have never experienced it. This is a controversial and difficult subject to talk about, but there simply must be dialogue. You may disagree with one person's views or opinions on a topic, you may even forcefully disagree, but College is a place that we should discuss those disagreements in the open.

Had McNeill's article been in favor of Israel, would there have been any controversy? If your answer is "yes," you are kidding yourself.

You are also kidding yourself if you believe a publication needs articles to be watered down and accompanied by contrary ones in order to achieve balance.

Intellectual freedom should always trump political cowardice, but in this instance our tail was swiftly tucked between our legs.

Alyssa, thank you for pointing out the obvious, but overlooked, fact: that Emily's article showcases the talents and experiences of a recent alumna. Politics aside, isn't that exactly what IC View is about? PT Michael Tabasko, Public Defender Holly Mosher, and Photographer Jeff Katz were all featured in this same issue of IC View in the Aluminaries section. Those articles provided second hand insight into the activities of alumni where as Emily's article is a first hand account of her experiences after college. How is that inappropriate for IC View?

I am a former IC faculty member (Politics Department, 1986-89) and currently professor of Politics and chair of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of San Francisco. I am totally perplexed as to why President Rochon would write this apology.
Everything in this article is consistent with the kinds of things I have observed in my visits to the West Bank as well as what has been documented in reports by Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other human rights organizations, including such Israeli groups as B'Tselem.
Perhaps President Rochon has information that contradicts such findings which would require more "balance" in the article. If so, he should make them public. Otherwise, it appears to be an effort to suppress expressions of concern about human rights abuses by governments which are considered strategic allies of the United States. It reminds me of when I taught at IC in the 1980s when some people objected to those of us were raising concerns about human rights abuses in El Salvador.
Just as it is wrong to unfairly single out Israel for criticism, it is unfair to single out Israel as somehow being exempt for criticism.

I was once proud of my alma mater. The four years I spent at Ithaca exposed me to many different viewpoints and taught me to try to get to the heart of matters, not to simply accept what I was told as inviolate truth. There were many times I was confronted with opinions that were so opposite my own that I became angry and wanted to close my mind to them; Ithaca taught me that to do so is to regress personally, emotionally and, most of all, intellectually. The surest road to dehumanization is the sanitization of experience and information. All this I learned at Ithaca, and I was proud to have attended a school that showed me a mirror and helped me respect what I saw therein.

And then I read this.

Ms. McNeill's article presented her experiences on the ground in the West Bank, nothing more, nothing less. She called for an end to "unchecked settler extremism," to the violence perpetrated by settlers at odds not only with Palestinians but also with offical Israeli government policy. Putting aside for the moment the vital fact that this article is an opinion piece and was never meant to represent the views of the college community as a whole, it appears President Rochon feels Ms. McNeill should also have included justifications for the killing of civilians and Israeli police alike in order to present a "fully balanced and unbiased" view.

Snide comments notwithstanding, what President Rochon is calling for is the institution of censorship at Ithaca College. His creation of an editorial review board to ensure that nothing controversial (and, therefore, nothing immediate, vital and necessary, as many of the Final Word essays previously published in ICView have been) cracks open the door to the destruction of academic integrity at Ithaca. Is there some difficult and possibly objectionable material on the syllabus for that political science class? The review board will strike it out. Is that professor pushing students to look at sides of issues not often presented for discussion or--even worse--requiring a student to defend in debate a position opposed to that student's beliefs on a certain subject? The review board will gladly show that professor the door.

The reason I attended Ithaca College was that it was an open-minded institution that pushed me to expand my horizons beyond what I ever thought possible. It taught me that truth is sometimes difficult to accept but always required. And Ithaca taught me to stand up for things I believe in, no matter what the cost.

President Rochon, your response to Ms. McNeill's article and your requiring Maura Stephens to apologize for exercising freedom of the press is disgusting and shameful. You make a mockery of your own assertion that it is "certainly the role of institutions of higher education to raise the level of debate around all controversial subjects." I fully support the students and professors of Ithaca College and Maura Stephens and the ICView, but until you retract these statements, I cannot support the college itself.

I am shocked and appalled at this explicit exercise in censorship taken by President Roshon. My issues are as follows:
1. IC View is a place where alumni can speak about their experiences. To disallow someone her voice based on the political implications of her experiences is in no way just.
2. If people are upset about Emily's article, there should be dialogue and understanding, not a heavy handed squelching of those voices which challenge us.
3. It is impossible to escape the political nature of Emily's article, agreed. However, it is equally as impossible to escape the political nature of this act of censorship. Emily's story is not being challenged because it is "biased", but rather because it expresses a side of the conflict that we don't frequently hear and which challenges common conceptions in the American collective consciousness.

Ithaca college is a place which claims to encourage critical thinking, dialogue, and exploration. President Roshon's actions speak to none of these.

The various above comments as well as those referring directly to Emily's article have done a wonderful job of pointing out the multitude of problems inherent in President Rochon's response. That being said, I would like to add my name to the substantial list of those who have chosen to support the decision to select Emily's article for "ICView", along with a personal condemnation of censorship. The actions taken in an attempt to distance Ithaca College from an allegedly controversial subject have done far more to tarnish the institution's intellectual and academic integrity than the article itself ever could have--as indeed Emily and her work have in my opinion only improved it. If there is anywhere that such views should be able to be expressed freely and without fear of thoughtless and oppressive reprisal, it is in a publication of an open-minded and well-respected institution of higher learning such as Ithaca College.

President Rochon,
This is a most disturbing response from a college president. Perhaps you received threatening phone calls? Perhaps, then, you over-reacted? If anyone owes anyone an apology, it is you, Mr. President. You have marred the reputation of this college that I hold in great esteem for the countless benefits that it gave to me. And believe me, we had controversy during my 4 years.
Protecting free speech requires a strong constitution at times. You have many on your campus who can and will support your fight to protect it. Please seek them out and be a leader in resolving conflict, not creating it.
Thank you,
Gina Pocock '78

As someone who has contributed in the past to the "Final Word" column (/icq/2005v3/finalword.htm), I know not of any editorial review that is necessary to clear such columns for print.

As others have pointed out, the Final Word is very much open-ended, allowing the contributor to express his or her point of view WITHOUT such editorial control. While my own column was not particularly controversial, it was not without bias, presenting a point of view that many administrators disagreed with. In fact, I subtly admonished those who disagreed with me, and it was the intent of my piece to do so. Nobody assumed the magazine was taking a position; the point of view was mine and mine alone. I had the final word.

Though my Bomber Pride is hurt by this incident, I am willing to give President Rochon the benefit of the doubt that he perhaps does not understand the intent behind the Final Word feature. Nonetheless, I believe it is he who owes the apology to both Emily and Maura for the very public and professional embarrassment he has caused them.

To those who have concern about the content of Emily's piece: GREAT! Let's discuss it. Let's engage in the rigorous intellectual debate that thrives on South Hill.

Let's not jeopardize the reputations of our institution and its community members by playing political hardball and enforcing censorship.

I am happy to see such a response from Ithaca students and alumni. I take a lot of pride in everyone's support of Ms. McNeill's article. I am however disappointed in the President's lack of support of a wonderful writer. Free thinking should be influenced at a College like Ithaca. That was my experience while there and that experience should be provided to every student that subsequently is educated there. Censorship of such an achievement only stifles the growth of the students now there and sends out a message that taking chances will not be tolerated.

I am a current staff member and previous donor to several annual fund campaigns. I am ceasing all giving until the president reverses his abhorrent, ignorant, and embarrassing stand on the matter.

I am stunned by President Rochon's knee-jerk response to the inclusion of Emily McNeill's story, Final Word" in the recent issue of ICView. How totally ludicrous for him to suggest that the article was "presented in a way that implies that it is the I.C. View". Did I miss some of the article? In a time when too much of our news is filtered, censored and edited (especially that concerning the Israeli-Palestinian conflict), the last thing I would expect is to read the college President pledging "a stronger internal editorial review policy." Exactly what does THAT mean? Pretty scarey I'd say!

Reading President Rochon's response, I couldn't help but think back to former President Williams' commencement address last year. In that speech, Peggy emphasized again and again how important it was for Ithaca College graduates to maintain a "lifetime of learning" after leaving South Hill. "Every graduate of Ithaca College should possess two capacities," Peggy said. "Knowing, the capacity to know and to keep knowing, and knowing better, the capacity and commitment to share one's acquired knowledge for the benefit of others."

"Knowing better" is exactly what Emily did in her piece. She traveled to a part of the world that many people talk and argue about-- yet comparatively few of whom have ever visited-- and, in a well-written, reasoned manner, shared with her fellow IC alums what she saw there. You'd think the leader of the IC community would readily welcome such a valuable firsthand account. President Rochon, apparently, does not.

I interned at IC View as a student and have written several articles for the publication since graduating. Yes, I believe an alumni magazine should cover campus news, wedding and career announcements, profiles of successful alumni, etc. And IC View does that. But I've always admired how the magazine, through its "Final Word" pieces, sought to continue the (sometimes heated) classroom discussions we all had during our time at IC. In some ways, IC View is many alums' last remaining link to the college. Pieces like Emily's essay allow us to share, as a community, in that "lifetime of learning," an ethos I heard not only in Peggy's remarks that day, but throughout my four years at IC. You don't have to agree with her viewpoint. Just listen to what she has to say, and see what understanding you can gain from her experiences and perspective.

In that light, I'm extremely disappointed by both President Rochon's response to Emily's essay and his decision to create a so-called "editorial review board." I believe such actions to be contrary to what Ithaca College stands for, and I hope he seriously, seriously reconsiders the policy.

If a friend drinks too much, do i have the right to tell him/her so? Are people around me going to say shutup or, "how could you say something like that," and then let her/him get into a car and drive.

there is no form of violence that can be solved by more violence, i know this is true and if someone threatens me with violence the last thing i should do is something violent, tough break, yet if one feels this way one needs to act this way.

a college should not have a problem with unpopular opinions, which is what tenure is partly about, there is nothing that cannot be questioned, it is needed in science, economics, politics, and personal beliefs. As one old man in India said, "Be circumspect", another thing he said was, "I do not hate you, I love you, I just hate the things you do". Ghandi

i know why you apologized Moira, and i love you for it, to me that is an example of true compassion, even in the worst of moments human dignity still shines through.

kevin michael

A few things first: I am an alumna of IC's Journalism school, and I was also president of the IC Republicans during my tenure there. I support Israel and its right to defend itself against terrorist. That said, I'm extremely disturbed by the response to Emily's article. It was extremely well-written and well-informed. Yes, it predominately describes what's happening on one side of the story, but that's the side she experienced and the side that is reported far less than it should be. When people criticize this article and call it "maddening" because it doesn't describe everything Israeli citizens do as fully justified, it makes me think that they place little value on the truth of the situation. There are more people involved in this situation than Hamas and Israel. The more people in the world who feel the need to simplify one of the more complex situations in the history of the international system, and to reduce this conflict to good versus evil, the less hope there is for a lasting peace in a place that desperately needs it.

I understand that this magazine is predominately a marketing tool for the college, but I can think of many journalism students who might pass on the fairly prestigious Park School after seeing the kind of censorship that is suggested by President Rochon's response.

As a current graduating senior, I am worried for IC's future. The top leadership at this institution should be the one backing our students and defending their freedom of speech, rather than outspokenly condemning their work.

Peggy wouldn't have done this...

...really worried...

Many statements here have eloquently argued the necessity for intellectual liberty in the academic community. I’d only add that IC View’s “Final Word” is clearly a place reserved for commentary, and all previous pieces in this section have featured the writer’s own individual perspective. Emily’s essay – written from her direct observation of conditions in the West Bank and drawing primarily on Israeli sources for statistics – is in that same vein. Moreover, her discussion shows a thoughtful, engaged citizen expressing compassion at the human cost of any violent struggle. As a journalist, Emily is admirably practicing what she was taught, encouraged, and inspired to do here at I.C. She joins intellect and heart – and no small amount of courage. We should be looking for ways to celebrate, not censor, such committed achievement in our students and alumni.

This is extremely worrisome. I am a first year student who is absolutely in love with Ithaca College, yet these recent actions taken by our new president and the editorial staff of IC View are beginning to make me question my views. This is not what I would expect from an institution that prides itself for its achievements in communication and journalism. If controversial issues and ideas cannot be safely discussed on the grounds of a college or university, then where can they? The implications of Rochon's actions are terribly worrisome-what will be the next Ithaca College publication under attack? Does this mean that we can no longer expect controversial and thought-provoking subjects in the college's publication? Will apologies and censorship become the new norm for every publication that is deemed questionable? This frustrates me. I personally liked hearing a different point of view, provided by McNeil. How else can we expand our knowledge? Ithaca College, your actions worry me especially about the future of my journalistic education.

Dear Mr. Rochon,

I am writing to express my profound disappointment with your recent ‘response’ to Emily Mcneill’s article in ICView. I see from your ‘personal website’ that you are described as having a “distinguished record of scholarly research”. Therefore, it disappoints me further that someone of your supposed calibre has become involved in undermining the fine and eloquent efforts of someone who is clearly a talented journalist and a former a student.

I do not intend to question your personal opinions about the conflict, because, of course, you have the right to say and to think what you like; regardless of how much, or how little research you have performed on the situation. Rather, the major problem here is clearly the unfair way in which you have used your position of authority to undermine the conclusions a student has come to by performing real empirical research. This is clearly unfair. Ms. Mcneill is in no position to defend article from your comments. You have implied that she has committed a major journalistic sin, and written an article which misleads the reader, without yourself having any experience of the conflict.

In my view, your actions are, at best, a demonstration of poor judgement. At their worst, your response has publicly admonished an alumnus of Ithaca Collage in the early stages of her career with an unfounded and unfair accusation. This is behaviour that is only slightly more evolved that that expected of a schoolyard bully. Surely a reaction that would behove someone in your position would be to allow space for (or even encourage) another student to challenge Ms. Mcneill’s views in a future edition of ICView.

I very much hope you will think more carefully next time Mr. Rochon.

Yours very disappointedly,

Hello,

I am a member of the Ithaca College Student Coalition for Academic Rights, a group which has formed to oppose President Rochon's reaction to the publication of Emily's article. If you believe that President Rochon's response was inappropriate, please consider signing our petition:

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/icscar

You can also find out more about us by visiting our facebook group:

http://tinyurl.com/icscar

Sincerely,

Gregory Sutliff '09

McNeill's article was inoffensive by any standard not involving extremism.

Chiming in too late, I suppose, but proud of a Buzzsaw alum who's clearly making something big of herself,

Bryan Chambala
One of the Founders
Buzzsaw Haircut

I have read and re-read Emily's article searching and searching for something that would illicit the need for a "stronger internal editorial review policy as well as [the creation of] an editorial board that will review all relevant content of the magazine." Ms. McNeill's column was clearly that--a piece that carries with it the point of view of the author. There wasn't a moment while reading the article that I confused Emily's first-hand accounts of her experiences in the West Bank with the official policies or administrative opinions of my alma mater.

Instead, I simply marveled at a wonderfully constructed piece of journalism and was proud as a former IC student that a fellow alum had not only engaged herself in such a worthy endeavor, but had also written such a detailed and balanced account of her experiences.

I commend the ICView staff on the editorial choice to include this oft-overlooked perspective. I believe the framing of the piece provided adequate context, identifying it as a first-hand account of a member of the audience to which the ICView is directed.

I hope the unwarranted negative attention the article has received in no way affects the future content of a magazine I have looked forward to receiving as an indication of the successes of and progress made by my fellow alumi. Please don't make any unnecessary changes to my ICView.

I have read and re-read Emily's article searching and searching for something that would illicit the need for a "stronger internal editorial review policy as well as [the creation of] an editorial board that will review all relevant content of the magazine." Ms. McNeill's column was clearly that--a piece that carries with it the point of view of the author. There wasn't a moment while reading the article that I confused Emily's first-hand accounts of her experiences in the West Bank with the official policies or administrative opinions of my alma mater.

Instead, I simply marveled at a wonderfully constructed piece of journalism and was proud as a former IC student that a fellow alum had not only engaged herself in such a worthy endeavor, but had also written such a detailed and balanced account of her experiences.

I commend the ICView staff on the editorial choice to include this oft-overlooked perspective. I believe the framing of the piece provided adequate context, identifying it as a first-hand account of a member of the audience to which the ICView is directed.

I hope the unwarranted negative attention the article has received in no way affects the future content of a magazine I have looked forward to receiving as an indication of the successes of and progress made by my fellow alumi. Please don't make any unnecessary changes to my ICView.

There is nothing in this piece that merits editorial review. It is based on factual reporting. Tom Rochon has clearly buckled under pressure from extreme elements that do not even reflect the pro-Israeli mainstream, and in doing so, harmed the integrity of Ithaca's journalism program. As P.T. Barnum said, "There's a sucker born every minute."

I have read part of the essay President Rochon finds offensive and can't see anything that would illicit the following attack on academic freedom, which is unfortunately what your country the USA is renowned for the past twenty-odd years.

Re: "There are processes for editorial review of articles in ICView and they were not followed in this situation. We are taking action to strengthen our processes around the review of content for ICView. This includes a stronger internal editorial review policy as well as creating an editorial board that will review all relevant content of the magazine."

This means something to the editorial board - not the journalist, or the student body, without which the ICView magazine would not exist.

The old saying is that one should "publish and be damned". I forget the famous US journalist of the 1960's (was his name Walter Cronkite), who used to screw up his newscript and throw it at the TV camera as a liberal statement about how much he owed to the public for his job.

What is really happening here is that powerful benefactors are pulling strings behind the scenes. Otherwise such a standard account of Israel settler colonialism would be disregarded as plainly the editor of the magazine decided in the first place, Before some little birdy whispered something in her ear about "controversy".

There is nothing in this article which millions of Americans, Cairo university students and other leading institution alumni around the world would not have covered in some detail over the past 60 years.

I suspect a hidden agenda and it's sad to say that I think there's a bit of a pattern of this sort that's been going on for some years now in your country. And where there is a pattern of censorship there are powerful forces external to labor at work.

I strongly encourage the President and the editor to apologise to Ms McNeill for any distress their obviously biased intervention might have caused her.

Presiden Rochon's response is shameful and duplicious. He claims that "we failed to [discuss controversial issues] in a fully balanced and unbiased manner" while anybody who has enough common sense and read Emily McNeill's piece could see that was absolutely not the case.
I don't think the President really believes his own disclaimer. Rather, his pusillanimous stance reflects fear of losing rich donors.
Shame on you, Tom Rochon!

Dr. Rochon,
What is so controversial about settler extremism that "another view" has to be shown? I've been to the West Bank and witnessed what Emily has seen. The settler violence is real and constant. You should apologize, Dr. Rochon.

Don’t contract the IC View, expand it!

I am happy that IC is not likely to respond to Emily McNeill’s article with any increased editorial oversight or other penalty for those involved. If this occurs, now or in the future, the outcry of anger the college just experienced will pale in comparison to the one that follows, as Emily’s article clearly falls within the stated mission of the IC View.

If the “Final Word” heading offended you, this can be easily changed. In addition, given the overwhelming research that shows that the majority of news coverage emphasizes the Israeli perspective, can we really question whether a few articles anywhere that address the other point of view are a few too many?

If it was the substance of the article that bothered you, the goal of getting people on your side can be accomplished far more effectively by a reasoned response in your own article or through the online comments than by questioning our President or editor. Many of the major problems we face, from the state of our economy to the continuing Israeli-Palestinian conflict, exist because people want to stay comfortable and denigrate views that challenge their beliefs. We too often stick to examining a relatively narrow range of ideas, go to great lengths to justify past actions, and ignore hard choices about the future.

However, our alumni just showed that we are excited to discuss sensitive topics, so I propose that we actually expand the online or print section where we can share our opinions, regardless of how controversial they may be. I don’t need to agree with all of my fellow alums, I just want to know what they think so that we can try to break through the self-imposed bubble that allows the same problems to damage our world over and over again.

What do our theater or writing majors think of the strikes that have occurred? What do our business and economics graduates think about the causes and effects of our current crisis? Do our Park graduates have any thoughts on the massive changes in the areas of journalism, advertising, and television? What are the major stories and controversies taking place in the world of physical therapy, sports, sociology, and other fields to which we have sent our students? What a great example of our academic strength it would be to have a place where we could regularly have the same type of lively, occasionally contentious conversation that just took place.

We could quickly brush this all aside and return to the many other problems we face, but such a response could be appropriately defined as a commitment to the status quo. If we care at all about our stated claim of excellence, we should see this all as an opportunity, not a problem. A larger, lively alumni section highlighting our opinions on a wide range of controversial issues could be a great example of how our college is influencing people and society. It would also show that at IC, all opinions, like all alumni, matter.