Opinion

KJ Daily offends without purpose

By Rachel Lieb '13

November 8, 2012

The KJ Daily appeared from thin air last Monday on tables in Commons, McEwen, KJ and other locations on campus.  The salmon-pink paper, published anonymously, befuddled many Hamilton students as to its origins.  A self-proclaimed “publication that aims to update the student community on a series of mundane everyday events that occur around campus” failed to update anyone on anything, mundane or otherwise, and wound up angering a lot of the student community.

The piece that incensed many students was a faux advertisement on the back of the publication which called for an “Assistant Plumber: Hamilton College Physical Plant.”  In three paragraphs, the author managed to insult and degrade some of the hardest working people on this campus.  It had a snarky tone that made the author sound as if he or she has a superiority complex. 

“The KJ Daily upset me because not only was it basically a glorified inside joke with the school’s name attached to it without authorization,” Abigail Noy ’15 said, “but it insulted Physical Plant workers, all of whom work hard every day for our benefit.  It was insensitive and unnecessary.”

Physical Plant works tirelessly to clean up our messes, fix the things that we break and make our campus beautiful, always with a smile and a “hello” as we pass them around campus.  We should, at the very least, be respectful of everything they do for us. 

“Their ad about Physical Plant was unnecessary,” Andrew Seraichick ’13 agreed.  “If anyone on campus deserves more respect than that, it’s Physical Plant.”

The editors of this publication prove their cowardice by publishing anonymously, without even pseudonyms to separate one article from another.  Though under the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the KJ Daily has the right to print and say whatever they want, they ignore the importance of taking responsibility for those words.  If someone has an opinion that is both defensible and worth sharing, they should be unafraid to attach his or her name to it.  Every approved publication on campus is held to the same standards by the Hamilton College Media Board.  By publishing independently, and on their own dime, the KJ Daily circumvented those standards.

Chair of the Media Board, Taylor Coe ’13 said, “Unfortunately, many students on campus are unaware of the role of the Media Board, but hopefully this problem with the KJ Daily allows everyone to better understand the media culture on campus.” 

The College’s namesake, Alexander Hamilton, believed in responsibility in terms of freedom of the press: “The Liberty of the press consists in the right to publish with impunity Truth with good motives for justifiable ends.”  

The KJ Daily intends to contribute “a half-truth every once in a while,” lacks good motives when it “might even make you angry” and claims that its only justifiable end is to report the mundane.    

I hope that Physical Plant does not think that the snide remarks of some students reflect the views of the larger Hamilton community.  If the KJ Daily publishes again, they should think about the people they might hurt before they submit their work for public consumption and stop hiding behind the lame excuse of an “inside joke.”

return to previous page