Thursday, November 17, 2011

Right hand meet left hand

ASPLU misinforms Mast concerning smoke-free campus resolution

By Heather Perry, Editor-in-Chief

The Mooring Mast asked the entire PLU community to hold us accountable at the beginning of the year for our mistakes.

Listen to the interview

Use the player below to listen to the interview between Photo Editor Emily Biggs and ASPLU President Alexis Ballinger.
This week we held ASPLU responsible for one of its mistakes.

You may have noticed the conflicting stories circulating regarding whether ASPLU supported a resolution that would encourage PLU administration to make PLU a smoke-free campus.

To clarify the whole situation, they did not support Resolution 16, which would have supported a ban on smoking. They instead passed Resolution 18, which supported the enforcement of Washington state law and PLU policy.

However, we were misinformed by what we deemed a credible source on the topic: ASPLU President senior Alexis Ballinger.

In an interview with then Mast guest writer Emily Biggs, now photo editor, Ballinger said ASPLU passed the resolution presented to them by nursing students and handed Biggs a copy of Resolution 16, the one supporting a smoke-free campus.

This information ran in the Oct. 14 Focus section, and no objection to this information ocurred until Nov. 13 after Focus Editor junior Jack Sorensen wrote an editorial in the Nov. 11 issue criticizing ASPLU for passing an error-ridden resolution.

Ballinger, ASPLU Vice President junior Taylor Astel and I met Monday to discuss accusations Astel made in an email objecting to the article and to reconcile the situation between the two organizations.

During that meeting, we were able to determine that Ballinger thought she gave Biggs the wrong information, but never told anyone on staff at The Mooring Mast the information was incorrect.

This is a perfect example of when organizations fail to communicate.

Simply put, if you don’t tell us something is wrong or we made a mistake, we’ll never know.

I’m going to assure you that we learned our lesson on this one, and in the future will fact-check information we receive even from those who we consider our most credible sources.

No correction to this information was issued because our corrections box is reserved to correct errors within our control, and this is not one of them.

On another note, I would also like to personally thank the community for doing a better job of holding us accountable - but you could still do more. Write letters to the editor. Offer us suggestions, corrections. Challenge us.

Please visit to hear the recording of the Oct. 11 interview between Biggs and Ballinger.