A case of poor Communication

Colby, I beg you to question how we are being represented. Too many times have I seen the same minority students printed in the Colby Magazine. Too many times have I heard about Communications’ (rightfully failed) attempts to curb what the Echo publishes. Too many times have I looked at the Colby website and seen a Colby that looks unfamiliar to what I see on a regular basis.

In fact, I urge you all to check out the Colby website right now. Take a moment to look at the show of solidarity for queer people in Uganda, inspired by this year’s Oak Fellow, LGBTQ rights activist, Clare Byarugaba. This particular show that you see on the site was staged. Communications saw the original demonstration that took place at the end of Byarugaba’s formal lecture via social media and other channels. They then asked associated students and faculty to reconvene on Miller steps, strategically in front of Colby’s icon, and nowhere close to the original venue, Ostrove Auditorium.

I raised my concerns to two members of the Communications staff about the inauthenticity of that photograph and the reactive, not proactive, approach they took just to make the school look good. The responses I received fell short of adequate. One was that Communications doesn’t know about these events and demonstrations unless they are notified. The Oak Institute holds this lecture annually, and I saw multiple posters all over campus. I can’t imagine how they missed it, especially since earlier in the year they published an article about Ms. Byarugaba that further publicized the original lecture. And if they had been there, they would have gotten the original photograph.

They also mentioned that they have limited resources and don’t have a trained photographer on staff. That’s fine, but if you’ve missed a photo op, please do not try to stage it post-fact. That opportunity is gone. Oh, and since we have one student photographer on campus who is “Instagram famous” and has photographed the Met Gala for Vogue, I don’t think we can use the “we don’t have a trained photographer” excuse.

They also brought up the point that the lighting may not have been good at the lecture…I hope Communications will never represent me in court.

I later reached a moment of peace with these staff members after reluctantly accepting these explanations, and I even received a very nice email from one of them. However, I got a second wind of frustration when I saw that the first panel on the slideshow widget of the website featured this photo, and I realized that even if I raise concerns with them, they will not hesitate to run what I, and others, consider to be a contentious photo.

For this incident and many more, I urge everyone to consider the following question: who do you think is going to represent you with the respect you deserve? Communications or the Echo? I choose the Echo.

Leave a Reply