I’m writing regarding the article from April 5, “UMN fraternity member’s death caused by alcohol poisoning.”
I find this article incredibly disrespectful, irresponsible and devoid of any information of use to the University of Minnesota community. The Minnesota Daily and the authors of the article likely had valid intentions and a desire to educate the community about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. I also understand the Daily’s desire to call out the fraternities and sororities involved for irresponsible actions and policy violations. However, I do not feel that the article productively accomplishes either of those goals. All it does is drag a very successful and promising young man through the mud after his tragic, and avoidable, death. Despite one mention of his status as a College of Biological Sciences Dean’s List honoree, the article fails to say anything positive about Mitchell Hoenig for 1,139 words.
I understand and highly respect the Daily’s stated desire to “pursue the truth” and to generally engage in publication of information which involved parties might not want to be published, but this article crosses a line. An in-depth description of a man’s actions before his death are wildly unnecessary and not productive.
Regarding the violation of sorority policies: everyone on this campus is aware that underage drinking happens at parties. Taking this into account, a more effective use of the Daily’s print space would have challenged college drinking culture by encouraging students to take care of their friends and monitor their own consumption and that of others.
It would have also mentioned medical amnesty policies of both the University and the state of Minnesota. In Mitchell’s memory, it is on us as a University community, not University administration, to prevent deaths like this from happening. As Mitchell's parents stated, “[our] hope is that this incident reminds everyone to look out for one another.” The article published Thursday by the Daily does nothing to support that goal.
This letter has been lightly edited for clarity and style.
Jordan Anderson is a senior at the University of Minnesota studying political science and sociology of law, criminology and deviance.