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An apology regarding ‘The Red Zone is certain. Safety after parietals is not.’

| Friday, September 1, 2023

Friday morning, our editorial board published “The Red Zone is certain. Safety after parietals is not.” The premise of this editorial was incorrect. Our team failed to thoroughly vet our claims. We apologize for this failure. Although our editors did not initially find the Safety after Parietals policy on the du Lac website, it is available within the online handbook.

The Observer may be a student newspaper, but we hold ourselves to professional standards. The mistake we made regarding the editorial is unacceptable, and we will do everything in our power to ensure we never again make such a mistake.

Before publishing our editorial, we failed to let the University respond in full to our argument. We wrote that Safety after Parietals policies — which prevent students from receiving conduct violations when leaving an unsafe situation in a dorm of the opposite sex after parietals — appear to exist at the University, but are not officially codified in University policy.

 “And even though student government has publicized Safety after Parietals policies, the rules aren’t part of du Lac,” we wrote.

The policy is codified in University policy. A “Safety after Parietals” policy can be found on page eight of the “Procedures for resolving concerns of discriminatory harassment, sexual harrassment and other sex-based misconduct” page of the Office of Institutional Equity’s website, which is linked on the Student Standards of Conduct page.

“Students who feel unsafe in a residence hall after parietals should leave the hall, regardless of the time, without concern for a parietals violation. A student will not be found responsible for a violation of the University’s undergraduate residence hall visitation (parietals) policy if the violation is related to an incident of Sexual Harassment, Discriminatory Harassment, or Other Sex-Based Misconduct,” the official policy reads.

We recognize that our error could lead to students falsely believing they can get cited by the Office of Community Standards (OCS) for leaving an unsafe situation after parietals. We would like to correct the record and state that official University policy states that students will not get an OCS violation for parietals if they leave an unsafe situation after the allotted hours. The intent of the article was to encourage sexual assault reporting, not the opposite.

Our mistake was a grave one. We recognize its severity. We will continue to work diligently — as we always have — to regain your trust, and to tell the stories that shape our campus. As an independent student newspaper, The Observer has always had the platform to hold accountable the University we value so much. We failed to live up to the responsibility that comes with that platform.

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