By TGrag30@aol.com

If at all possible, I would like this letter to be ran in the Progress tomorrow. Thank you.Dear Editor,

My name is Tracy Gragston, and I was a candidate for Executive Vice-President, running with Jacquelyn Leach who was running for Student Body President/Student Regent. I wanted to address the concerns that I have with the coverage of the election by the Progress this past issue.

First, the pictures. Ms. Leach and I took pictures with the other candidates of the respected openings in S.G.A. Thursday, April 3. It was later disclosed that the film with the candidates’ pictures had somehow been ruined, and that there was a need to take additional photos to place in the Progress. To my knowledge, every candidate for every S.G.A. position was contacted to retake photos: everyone except myself and my running mate Ms. Leach. Ms. Leach inquired about this matter, and was told that the list used to contact candidates had Ms. Leach’s name and telephone number on it. My info was allegedly on this list as well. So why Ms. Leach and I was not contacted or left a message on our answering services in regards to photo retakes is anyone’s guess. (Perhaps phone calls were never placed to us…who knows?)

My next concern was the write-up that was placed in the paper about Ms. Leach and I that was placed next to those “mug-shots” of us that were taken during the debate on Tuesday, April 8. In comparison to the pictures and write-up that Mrs. O’Brien and Mr. Melching received in the Progress (no hard feelings towards those individuals…they ran a great race), I wouldn’t have voted for myself if I was a student interested in these elections. While it was mentioned that Mrs. O’Brien and Mr. Melching were the current Student Rights and Academic Affairs chairs, there was no mention of me being the current Ethics Chair of Senate. The Progress also failed to mention that Ms. Leach is currently a Student Court Justice, and had served 4 semesters on Senate and worked in the Cabinet of President Bertram during the 2000-2001 school year. The worst part about this is that the Progress had knowledge of the positions that we held in S.G.A. The Progress also failed to publish the accomplishments we made in our respected positions, while mentioning some of the accomplishments that Mr. Melching made.

It was also mentioned in this article that diversity was a top priority of Ms. Leach and I. This simply was not true, and although Ms. Leach and I spoke on diversity and inclusiveness, we never stated that diversity was a top priority. The Progress simply made an incorrect ASSumption, and I don’t wish to get into why this assumption was perhaps made.

I want the Progress to konw that there are no hard feelings from this side of the fence. My intent of writing this letter was to let the Progress know that what they print affects the thinking of the student body, and that responsibility should be taken seriously by the students who run the paper, from the printing crew all the way up to the editor-in-chief. The coverage of the election by the Progress, in my view, was very one-sided and hurt our chances of picking up more votes in this election.

At the beginning of our campaign, we were very aware that there were numerous people throughout the Eastern community who didn’t want to see us win this election in the first place for various reasons. The Progress didn’t help our campaign stay on even ground with Mrs. O’Brien and Mr. Melching because of poor coverage of our campaign.

Impartiality in journalism is very important to keeping your credibility. I hope that the Progress keeps this in mind when covering elections and other serious matters in the future so people don’t stop reading this paper.

I would like to end this letter by congradulating Mrs. O’Brien and Mr. Melching for their hard-fought victory in this election, and I believe that they will serve the E.K.U. student body in the best way they know how. Best of luck to you both. I would also like to thank all the individual students, student member of organizations, faculty and staff who supported our campaign.

Sincerely,

Tracy Gragston
Ethics Chair
Student Senate