I have to wonder what is going on with the fact checkingprocesses at The Vanguard these days. The reporting ofmisinformation has got to stop. In today’s issue, Thursday, April22, 2004, the news brief reports that Sen. Golden Ashby resignedafter recent controversy regarding a charge of sexual assault madeagainst him by another senator. This report is completely untrue.The senate had been discussing the possibility of bringing articlesof impeachment against Mr. Ashby on charges of sexual harassmentnot sexual assault. According to Portland State University’sStudent Code of Conduct sexual harassment is defined as unwantedand unwelcome sexual advances or requests for sexual favors andother verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature where suchconduct has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering withan individual’s academic or work performance, or of creating anintimidating, hostile or offensive educational or workingenvironment. Sexual assault on the other hand is defined by theStudent Code of Conduct as, but is not limited to: (a) rape, (b)sexual misconduct, or (c) unwanted sexual contact of any kind, orthreat of such contact. This means that Mr. Ashby would have had tohave touched the other senator in a sexual way, which he did notdo.
Golden Ashby was never accused of sexual assault by anyone. Thearticle is correct in stating that the events in question are stillbeing investigated by the affirmative action office, and nodetermination of guilt has been made yet.
It is extremely important when reporting on such a serious issuethat the facts reported are accurate and do not escalate an alreadysensitive issue.