Reporting a tragedy

In the wake of the news that three of our peers have passed away in the previous weeks, The Cynic would like to extend our most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Katie, Ryan and Dustin.After these deaths were reported via e-mail there was a deep sense of shock across campus, but an even more concerning sentiment that we heard was that of confusion amongst the students and staff.We all wanted to know what happened.The reports of Katie and Ryan’s deaths arrived in our inboxes in cryptic administration speak lacking any concrete facts or giving us any place to turn. In contrast, the e-mail informing us of Dustin’s death included much more information, including the cause of death – cystic fibrosis.The disparity between the e-mails only increased the confusion throughout the community.As the newspaper of record for UVM it is our duty to look into stories that effect our community. But when it came to our attention that Katie and Ryan had committed suicide, we stuck to the precedent set by newspapers everywhere: we don’t cover suicides unless they are public.Suicides are generally private acts and outside of the public sphere where our newspaper resides. Not to mention respect to the victim, their family and friends.But as soon as the administration sent out e-mails informing the community that two of our peers had passed away, that changed. By sending out e-mails to the students and staff, the administration shoved the two private deaths into the public sphere and made it news.Once UVM was alerted of the deaths, it was our role to set the record straight and report the news. This along with the willingness of the families to discuss the passing of their loved ones made it a necessity for the story to be publishedWe commend the administration for their willingness to share the information with us, but we feel like they needed to do more. The University is grieving, but we need to rally together and be there to move past these tragedies.Friends need to come together and support each other. Burlington and UVM are exceptional communities and we need to be there for one another in these hard times.The Counseling Center is a resource that is available for support, and we encourage any student who is struggling with the recent events to contact them immediately. There is a counselor as well as a medical provider, on call 24 hours a day.These are not easy times, but it is experiences like this that can make us all stronger and bring us together.