I remember back in junior high school, learning the “five Ws and one H” questions (who, what, where, when, why, how) that were considered the most essential to answer in any news report. While the article “Bates College addresses allegations that black student handcuffed at dance” (May 24), doesn’t come close to answering those questions, it does something far worse by highlighting the highly combustible element of race in the one narrative fragment that was put before readers.

What happened at the event that prompted Bates College Security to handcuff the student? Was the student, for example, playing checkers when officers suddenly pounced on him for no reason? Is it possible he did something that legitimately warranted such a strong response from security?

Readers were not given any information about what led up to the handcuff episode and were left to react in a fact-free, context-free, racially-charged vacuum. Not fair, and not good journalism.

Although it has become unfashionable to say so in these times, facts do matter. If there are real and violent abuses of power happening, readers must be given the full story, not just one dramatic flourish implying that racism was behind what happened.

Readers deserve better. Security officers deserve better. Students, of all races, deserve better.

Maura Murphy, Lewiston


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