Posted by Jonathan Maus ( Publisher/Editor ) on March 15th, 2009 at 10:43 pm
“The statement was intended to be satirical and we apologize if it was presented in a context that made it seem otherwise.”
— Nathan Hellman, editor-in-chief of the Daily Vanguard
Nathan Hellman, editor-in-chief of Portland State University’s Daily Vanguard newspaper, has issued an apology for a harshly worded movie review they published on March 5th. The paper has also printed two letters from student groups and faculty members that objected to the review’s content and called for the paper to take action to remedy the situation.
I didn’t realize I had such hatred for these people until I watched the movie, and I can’t pinpoint exactly why. All I know is I have a weird desire to make quick right hand turns in my Honda without checking the side-view mirror. Just kidding.
After word spread about the review, Vanguard editors and the paper’s faculty advisor Judson Randall, received strongly worded letters from student groups and faculty members.
A letter signed by Peter Welte, president of the PSU Cycling Team, and Hannah Fisher, president of the Associated Students organization made it clear where they stood:
Equating cyclists to “rats in a subway tunnel” within the context of a movie review was just insulting, but what followed was completely unacceptable…
We ask then, for the following:
1) an apology from the author
2) the donation of one page for a bicycle safety campaign.
Violence on the streets, or jokes about the same, will not be tolerated. We hope that the Vanguard listens, and learns. Jobs and lives depend on it.
Another letter — signed by Ian Stude, Transportation Options Manager, Alex Accetta, Director of Campus Recreation Victoria Gilbert, Assistant Dean for College of Urban and Public Affairs — called for similar actions to be taken and then concluded with:
This is a unique opportunity for the Vanguard to rise to the occasion and prove it is capable of being a positive force in the PSU community. We strongly urge you to take appropriate action to remedy this matter in due haste.
In addition to publishing both of those letters in their entirety in the Vanguard’s March 13th edition, editor Nathan Hellman issued the following statement and apology:
…the Vanguard had no intention for the views expressed to be harmful. However, one paragraph that referenced making blind right turns while driving a car was insensitive and made light of a potentially fatal situation.
The statement was intended to be satirical and we apologize if it was presented in a context that made it seem otherwise. This paragraph should have been excised from the review, and the Vanguard regrets that it failed to do so.
BikePortland has also learned that at least two advertisers have terminated their contracts with the Vanguard in light of this situation.
On a related note, we’ve got word from PSU that a screening of Veer might be coming to campus later this spring. Stay tuned for details.