From our Two Different Worlds desk
Another 7-10 split in the local dailies today, this time over the relationship between UMass/Dartmouth and suspected Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
Start with Rachelle Cohen’s op-ed in the Boston Herald:
UMass flunking Marathon test
Secrecy on detained students is suspect
UMass/Dartmouth officials continue to stonewall on the issue of releasing information on the records of four students now in custody in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing.
The taxpayers, whose hard-earned dollars keep the place in business, should be outraged.
“We are prohibited from releasing such records by [the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act],” insisted school spokesman John Hoey. “Our interpretation of the law indicates that that information is confidential.”
Note that little “our interpretation” caveat.
Not buying it, eh, Shelly?
After pointing out the academic deficiencies of Tsarnaev and his “buddies, Dias Kadyrbayev, Azamat Tazhayakov, both Kazakhstan nationals, and Cambridge resident Robel Phillipos” (not to mention the “cash cow” status of the two full-freight-paying Kazakhs), Cohen concludes thusly:
There is a level of moral bankruptcy at play here — not just on the part of these “students” — and we do use the word loosely. Yes, these three, had they spoken up instead of covering up, might have saved the life of MIT police officer Sean Collier and saved the community 24 hours of trauma.
But there is also a kind of moral bankruptcy on the part of university officials who are now complicit in withholding records that might reflect as badly on the administration of this school as they do on the former students now in federal custody.
Crosstown at the Boston Globe, almost predictably there’s a more empathetic take on the UMass/Dartmouth administration. From Adrian Walker’s column:
UMass Dartmouth a shaken campus
DARTMOUTH — Gazing out at the college quad, the new chancellor at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth wonders whether Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had watched his classmates as they gathered to mourn the three people he allegedly had helped murder the day before. A hastily organized vigil was attended by 300 faculty and students on April 16, after Tsarnaev had returned to campus.
“Of all the things that shock me, one of the things that really blows my mind is that he came back here,” Chancellor Divina Grossman said Friday. “He came back to our dorm. He came back to use the gym. He was among us. That is incomprehensible to me.”
Grossman, who is completing her first year at the helm of the school, suddenly finds herself presiding over an institution in crisis.
In the course of an stunningly uncritical piece, Walker does note this: “The arrests have prompted self-examination at the school, Grossman said. The students’ poor grades have raised questions about how they managed to stay in school at all. One of them, Dias Kadyrbayev, had flunked out.”
And then come the ten most feared words in the English language:
“It’s clear to me that we need a task force,” she said. “We need to review all our policies and procedures. We have to look at everything we did. We owe it to the Commonwealth, we owe it to the people who died, and we owe it to the faculty and students here.”
Just one question: Could Shelly Cohen be on the task force?
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I nominate you to be on the task force and be lead author of the report that comes out three years later…
I’m honored, Mike. Truly I am.