Letter to the Editor: Guest speaker was misrepresented

I’m looking at the photograph of guest speaker and retired Homeland Security official Terry Nelson on the front page of the Sept. 30, 2009 edition of the Skiff and can’t believe my eyes. Does the journalist who covered this story actually believe Mr. Nelson was encouraging attendees to “SAY YES TO DRUGS” as the (capitalized) title of the photograph states? Did the journalist actually listen to what Mr. Nelson was saying? On at least five occasions that I recall, Mr. Nelson clearly stated that he wasn’t advocating drug use. His intention is to “Say no to current drug enforcement policies!” I truly cannot understand how his words could have been so misinterpreted, misunderstood and misrepresented. This is the first time I’ve ever written to the Skiff regarding any issue, as I recognize the paper is student-run and with that comes a learning curve. However, I was compelled to write regarding this blatant misrepresentation of simple, plainly-stated on numerous occasions, facts. The Skiff should be better than that. I appreciate the coverage of the presentation by the Skiff and hope that the online article regarding the presentation contextualized Mr. Nelson’s message. (I didn’t view the article out of frustration over the photo caption). Regardless, the photo title is damage enough. We owe our guests to TCU the decency to not misinterpret their messages for the sake of including a catchy title. Our guests offer their valuable time and efforts to enlighten us. The least we can do is listen to what they say.

Chip Burns is an associate professor and director of the criminal justice program.

Editor’s note: The photo hammer stating “SAY YES TO DRUGS” was an editorial decision, not that of the reporter who covered the event.