Fourth Floor Furor Over Article

Gin Dumcius

Student government officials have taken The Mass Media to task over a recent front-page article that was heavy in humor, and some believed to be light on facts.

The article, titled “Free Money at Student Life,” took readers through the steps of starting a student club at UMass Boston, which included getting money from the Student Events and Organizations Committee (SEOC) and the Student Senate. The article jokingly suggested that the money could be used to buy semester parking passes. “Finally, wait a few weeks for the Student Events and Organizations Committee (SEOC) and the Student Senate to vote your club in. You’ll be given $250-$325 to put towards any activities that you’ve scheduled for your club. Withdraw the money and quickly buy a semester parking pass. Run before they realize you’ve swindled them,” it said.

“This article, personally, gave me a very bad view of The Mass Media,” said Senator Maria Moreno, Chair of SEOC, in the senate’s February 12 meeting. “For the past several months, the student senate has been encountering many discomforting articles that are being published by the staff of the Mass Media that are unprofessional, giving false reports about events and procedures that go on around the UMass campus,” she wrote in her committee report. “Instead of publishing articles that are filled with misleading information half-truths and some times out-right lies that make absolutely no since [sic] and that can be hurtful to the many students at UMass, I would like to recommend to the Editor of the Mass Media to take a minute or two and train its Mass Media reporters to properly research and interview before reporting.” She also suggested that the senate look into The Mass Media, not just as senators, but as students as well.

Vice President Tuan Pham agreed with Senator Moreno, accusing the newspaper of “irresponsible journalism.”

Senator Fritz Hyppolite, who was interviewed for the article, said he understood the humor in it and thought it was funny, but also understood Senator Moreno’s stance. “It isn’t like your ideal example of objective journalism,” he said. “Maybe it should have been in the editorial section.”

Director of Student Life Joyce Morgan, who was also interviewed for the piece, said the information in the article was accurate, and stated the reporter had left with a good understanding of the process in starting a club.

The Mass Media stands by the story.