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History repeats itself at Hofstra

By Ryan Broderick, Editor-in-Chief

As The Chronicle's staffers have been cleaning up our office and generally attempting to get in order for the new semester, there's been a lot of looking back at old issues in our archive room. One of the possibly most mind-boggling articles we stumbled upon was titled "Students cleared of sexual assault," written by Elizabeth Foley in 1997.

To us, this sounded very surreal, and got even more surreal when, after reading the article, we found out that the alleged assault took place on the 11th floor of Estabrook Hall and, ultimately, ended with the male student involved being dismissed of all charges.
The whole incident was reported by The Chronicle as the cause of a "media blitz" with ABC, NBC, NPR, and News 12 all reporting from campus.

What's interesting is not the almost eerie similarities between the 1997 alleged sexual assault and the 2009 alleged sexual assault, but the fact there were reporters scouring the campus in the following days after the news broke, many working for the same stations that were camped out on campus again this fall.

Our staff, ten years later, had never heard of the bizarrely similar story and it seems like that type of connection would have been made by the mainstream press. It seems like the juicy tidbit that a news network hoping to paint Hofstra as a "rape scandal" school.

It seems like this case of identical stories being underreported speaks to the entire problem with the way these types of "scandals" are being covered. The news is the fact no one could ever imagine something like this happening, not the fact that this does happen and is happening and perhaps we need to figure out why.

And I'm not sure if the lack of coverage was because of the way reporting works or just the fact the first Estabrook scandal happened before the Internet logged news by the millisecond. Either way, it's alarming and hopefully bothers you as much as it bothered us.

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