Yesterday, IvyGate updated their tasteless post on the death of Warren Schor; I posted their explanation on my original post, but here it is again:
UPDATE: Some have questioned whether it's appropriate to have jokes in the same post that acknowledges a death. No element of this post mocks the deceased or those grieving—in fact, any humor is directed at the administration and their lack of response that precluded the student's death. However, since we wrote most the post before the death, then updated it afterwards, the tone may now be off. It's our policy never to take down posts, but as a concession we've added a more somber picture and adjusted some language.
In contrast, consider the apology offered by Yale University officials to students after an unfortunate e-mail went out notifying students about a job-search workshop named "Killer Cover-Letters". The e-mail went out the same day the the body of missing student Annie Le was identified.
, assistant dean of Yale College, sent another e-mail to students later Monday apologizing for the earlier message. He said the workshop's title is common, but its use was inappropriate at the time. Jones says it was not the university's intention to cause more distress."
What is puzzling about the IvyGate explanation is their refusal to pull the post, however tasteless and offensive it is, because it's their policy. As one commenter said, "Maybe you need to bend your policy of taking down posts…there is always a first time. Besides, isn’t it kind of dishonest to say you don’t take them down but then you make changes? Better yet, issue an apology."
Here is the screenshot of the original IvyGate post.
More puzzling is their excuse that most of the post was written before Schor died. Even if the post was drafted because of the campus outbreak and the number of ill students, that's no excuse to not to edit the post before it goes up. It seems the post was only updated because of the outrage that followed rather that because of an acknowledgment of poor taste.
At the very least it's rank hypocrisy from a publication that once lashed out at the Dartmouth Review for an offensive Native American picture on their cover. When Dartmouth issued an apology, IvyGate was unimpressed. In fact, in response to the Dartmouth apology, IvyGate's Chris Beam wrote:"There's many a broken soul on the shoulder of the student publication highway -- people who think irony is a defense for the patently offensive. But these guys seem to have emerged relatively unscathed. They stand by their content. They still work for the paper."
It doesn't look like IvyGate learned any lessons about being "patently offensive" after all. They have also emerged "relatively unscathed" and "stand by their content."