I was saddened to unfold the 2008 Orientation issue and read of the deaths of College students Asher Goldman and David Stein. An even worse feeling was the realization that these stories were being shared so poorly and baldly by the Maroon on the front page of the paper, marginalizing stories of renewal and revitalization so important to our community and new students. Even had these stories appeared in a tasteful memoriam in later pages, the incomplete research and sensationalist writing by the article authors would be disrespectful to the students. Legally established circumstances of death were missing, official word from University officials was pending, and speculation was rampant. I find it particularly tasteless that photographs and quotes were taken directly from the personal Facebook profiles of both young men.
In an egregious layout choice, (the most egregious layout error since the Maroon went to press with the headline “People Get Robbed, That Sucks” in 1997), the picture selected for Mr. Stein shows him in front of the same Millennium Park sculpture (The Crown Fountain, if the editor had cared to name it) as the central full-page image of the Orientation wrapper. This is a microcosm of the overall message the Maroon seems to be sending to returning students, faculty, and staff, and our new arrivals: Arrive in Chicago, and expect to dwell on death’s pall over the successes and sweetness of the summer. This is not a message for a campus paper to reinforce by word or image. The start of the academic year is a time for renewal and reflection, and there are better ways to celebrate the memory of these two students in the context of looking forward and upward together, as a community of hope.
My heart goes out to the families of Mr. Goldman and Mr. Stein. They, and the families of the many students arriving at Chicago for the first time this fall, deserved better and more decorous coverage from the Maroon.
Matthew C. Dean, A.B. ’00, X ’02
Associate Director, Organization Research and Prospect Management
Office of Corporate Relations