This semester, The Insider has been covering topics like the campus callboxes and protocol for serious situations like sexual assault and stalking. In order to provide our readers with accurate information on these subjects, the best source would be campus police; however, we have been printing many stories where the campus police have declined to comment or provide information.
These are important topics for students to be informed about. Students have a right to know basic security information and how the campus police would handle a situation.
Sometimes, the information requested from campus police is as simple as standard protocol like: “Who picks up the phone when you push the button on the emergency phone?” or, “How does campus security handle a stalker?” These questions are meant to inform students about the layers of protection available to them, but this semester, the campus police have been either hesitant or entirely unwilling to share information like this.
Now, The Insider has been directed to the Pitt-Greensburg Director of Media Relations Susan
Isola if we are interested in contacting the campus police.
When we reached out to Isola for comment, she said, “It is not unusual for the media to come directly to me.”
While not illegal, having to go through Isola significantly slows down our process of getting information, making meeting deadlines difficult, which is especially troublesome for students who are taking The Insider as a class. As this is now our only channel for contacting and arranging information from campus police, we are forced to continue to rely on Isola to liaison between the campus police and us.
We have received no official word as to why this new roadblock has been erected, but Isola and members of SGA have informed us that Chief of Police Daniel Lynch has been claiming he was misquoted by us in Volume 4 Issue 2 of The Insider in the article “Sexual Assault Reported at Pitt-Greensburg.”
Reporter Ali Dimoff informed Chief Lynch that the interview was on the record unless otherwise specified, and Chief Lynch made no attempt to go off the record. Ms. Dimoff wrote during the interview that Chief Lynch said, “[Reported sexual assaults] are complicated because we have to sort through wishes and facts.” When asked during the interview to elaborate specifically on the quote, he declined. As of this printing, no one has contacted The Insider with concerns over the validity of the quote.
Isola also claimed that the writer had misquoted the chief, saying
that Chief Lynch meant to say “issues” instead of “wishes.”
She said, “‘Wishes’ and ‘issues’ sound kind of similar,” and “The reporter didn’t have the life experience or the professional experience to know the difference [between the two words].”
Sources say that Chief Lynch showed up before the March 15 SGA meeting, where he was initially scheduled to speak but cancelled. After being told that he would have to reschedule for the March 29 meeting and that it would be open to the entire campus including The Insider, Chief Lynch requested that the meeting be off the record and said that he refuses to speak with The Insider again because, he claimed, he was misquoted.
Director of Student Activities and SGA Advisor Al Thiel was not present at the time of the Chief’s remarks and was not aware of the comments. Regardless, Thiel disapproves of any staff speaking negatively about student organizations.
Thiel said, “No faculty or staff should be talking that way about a student organization, especially with another student organization. The goal should be open communication between individuals [or] groups with the ability to reach out when something seems wrong.”
The Insider stands by the accuracy of the statements printed on this matter. We intend to continue to provide our community with up-to-date essential information.