Q&A with ASUN Chief Justice Robert del Carlo on his impeachment decision, more

The following is a list of emailed questions and answers between myself and ASUN Chief Justice, Robert del Carlo, regarding the impeachment process for embattled ASUN President Jake Pereira. I’ve edited for spacing and spelling, but left his answers almost … Continue reading

Breaking: ASUN Senator resigns over racist tweet

Image courtesy of nevadaasun.com

Reynolds School of Journalism senator Spenser Blank resigned today due to a racist tweet he sent out last weekend, prompting ASUN officials to immediately apologize and host a public forum next week to hear from students.

Blank’s resignation comes directly on the heels of its appearance in the semesterly Coffin and Keys newsletter, which published a screenshot of the tweet (See the tweet here). At the time of writing, Blank appears to have deleted his Twitter feed, and has not announced anything on his senate Facebook page (Editor’s Note: It appears that Blank deleted his facebook page as well)

In a statement released today, ASUN President Huili Weinstock announced a public forum will be held Monday at 2 p.m. for students to hear concerns from students, and that ASUN’s mandatory sexual harassment training will be bumped to the government’s general retreat over summer.

“I would like to apologize directly to anyone who may have been offended  by the content of the tweet,” Weinstock said. “Students have come forward and expressed their concerns. I would like to say ASUN does not support this kind of speech.”

Blank was elected to his position by about a 4 to 1 ratio during the ASUN elections in March, and the process to appoint a replacement senator should begin in the upcoming fall semester. In a statement released today, Blank apologized for his actions and pledged to atone for his mistake in his future actions

“Words cannot express enough how sincerely sorry I am for the actions I’ve taken that hurt my constituents in the Reynolds School of Journalism and every other student who was offended by what I said,” he said in the statement. “I am taking full responsibility for my actions and I plan to personally apologize to the groups of people who have approached me.”

This isn’t the first social media controversy ASUN has faced: several years ago, Inkblot employee Nicole Dion was fired after tweeting about a University police incident.

Why accuracy in graphs is paramount

Last night, the Associated Students of the University of Nevada, Reno student senate passed a bill that would about double their yearly pay, much to the chagrin of commenters on the Nevada Sagebrush website and Facebook page. ASUN officials have defended the bill as a necessary way to decrease senate inactivity and apathy, with students countering with failures to stop tuition hikes and other senate failures isn’t a reason to give themselves a raise.

I’ll leave my personal opinion out of this for the time being, because there’s another issue that I want to address with the Sagebrush’s coverage of the event. In last Tuesday’s issue, a graph appeared along with a story on the proposed hike, which I’ve posted below:

There’s one rather large issue with this graph: it doesn’t equally increment the scale on the left, which leads the proposed increase to look smaller than it actually is. After a comment deriding the poor judgment was made by cartoonist and illustrator Paul Horn, the Sagebrush changed the graph to be more accurate, which was put together by Horn:

It’s immediately obvious how much of a change that this pay increase makes when presented this way. Professional designer Charles Apple goes over this problem of misrepresenting information in graphs within his own blog on a seemingly weekly basis, and it is definitely a problem. Journalists have a responsibility to accurately present information not only in stories, but also in a visual manner. There was no reason for the other graph’s y-axis to be structured in the way that is was, as it cuts out about a $1000 worth of graph points; nearly the exact change proposed by the Senate. In the future, I’d like to see the Sagebrush put more of an emphasis on making sure that their graphs and information are accurate, rather than stories about erectile dysfunction or a Humans vs. Zombies game.