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14 November 2012

Editor’s note: We stand by our diverse opinions

Since publishing the special Adderall report on Monday – which included a news story, an opinion column and the staff editorial – The Miami Hurricane has observed criticism and discontent among readers.

People have shared their opinions over email, Facebook, Twitter and through comments on our website. Most have scrutinized the editors’ decision to publish the satirical commentary, which was by a writer who has turned to Concerta – legally prescribed – to enhance his academic performance. Many have questioned the credibility of the Hurricane for publishing such a piece.

I’d like to make it clear that the opinion columns published in the Hurricane – with the exception of the staff editorial – represent the views of the individual columnists, and not the Hurricane or its editorial board. Choosing not to publish a column because we disagree with it would be inherently biased.

It’s also worth noting that nowhere did the staff editorial endorse illegal Adderall abuse –  that was never our position, and we would never intentionally encourage students to turn to an activity that could harm themselves or the university. The editorial, the product of organized staff-wide discussion, merely recognized the pressure students face that sometimes lead them to do things like take Adderall to boost their focus. It read: “Adderall won’t make you smarter or invincible, it just heightens your drive to finish study guides, research papers and projects.” There is obviously a fine line between choosing not to chastise our peers for illegal drug use and encouraging this illegal drug use – but we treaded it carefully.

Finally, we worked to keep the news story objective and diverse in perspective.

Although we’ve been asked by a number of dissatisfied readers to retract these pieces, doing so would work against our mission to cover all aspects of the University of Miami community. Newspapers serve as forums for public comment, and the Hurricane strives to represent diverse opinions. In that spirit, the Hurricane editorial board stands behind Monday’s staff editorial, and the decision to publish Robert Pursell’s column.

39 thoughts on “Editor’s note: We stand by our diverse opinions

  1. Listen, everyone. Regardless of your stance on the matter, both sides exercised freedom of speech–a right protected by the First Amendment. If you want to prevent things like this from happening in the future, pay attention. Read the Miami Hurricane. Hold your writers to the journalistic standard and let them know that they represent the same University you do.

    We are all students, and we have a right and a duty to represent ourselves, our fellow students, and our university in a positive light to the best of our abilities. Please note that Robert Pursell is a student too, and he is learning how to be a journalist as much as the other writers of the Hurricane. Forgive him, forgive the Miami Hurricane, and move on. Zealots get us nowhere.

  2. Granted, if you’re not on campus and you’re reading the online version, it looks pretty bad. All you see is article after article on study drugs. And it seems pretty random, i.e. there’s been no recent attention-grabbing cases, and maybe because finals are coming up, the topic is salient. It would not be an issue, personally, if they had shown strong opinions on different sides of the issue. All the people interviewed speaking against Adderall seemed wishy-washy.

  3. If anything this situation has done the following:

    Spark a dialogue about opinions, beliefs and misconceptions

    Show some commenters to be articulate alums who represent the U well, and others that are more of an embarrassment than they are believing the article to be

    Indicate that people either read the paper or jumped on the bandwagon

    GO CANES and Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Just starting with a prelude here, but yes, I do believe in free speech and the freedom for individuals to do whatever they want. But, I have to say, if you take advantage of that you have to own up to the consequences. In this case, BOTH articles can be seen as promoting drug use, legally and illegally. I understand that the Miami Hurricane can’t control and take responsibility for the opinions of a single writer, but the staff editorial was also very pointed in painting the use of Adderall, both legally and illegally, in a positive light. And as a paper that is representative of the University of Miami, whether or not it is “student-run”, they need to be more careful about what they endorse or spotlight.

    I work in a Pediatric Neurology office, so I see the kind of people and kids that actually NEED drugs like Adderall and Concerta, and I think it’s horrible that people abuse drugs that others are medically dependant on to function. Call me philosophical or moral, but I think there’s a fine line because what is right and what is wrong. In some cases, that line can be a bit blurry, but when it comes to drugs, and the question of using them illegally, it’s pretty clear.

    In this case, I think the Miami Hurricane is wrong to vehemently stand by their opinions and hold-fast to the pretense that their collective opinion article does not take sides. And to use satire as an excuse for the other article is ridiculous. If you’re going to write an opinion, stand by it, and don’t just fall back and say people didn’t get that you were being satirical. Cause if that’s the case, then you really need to re-examine what satire is and how it’s written.

  5. Is that a bumper sticker? “Satire is the final plea of the irresponsible journalist?” What are you attempting to do here blitman, become some noted philosopher? Your faux eisdom is noted, kiddo. Illl file that quote right next to “never fry bacon naked” and “if you shake it more than twice you’re playing with it”. You do realize what a tremendously pompous twit you make yourself soundalike when you say stuff like that, right? Maybe you should try and develop some sense of humor.

  6. An Embarrassed Alumnus is correct. Look at what this student from Miami-Dade College has written about is. He is saying, based on those articles, that we are a bunch of over-privileged kids who have the financial resources to get drugs and cheat our way through college.

    http://www.examiner.com/article/a-letter-to-the-editor-of-the-university-of-miami-newspaper

    I am not an over-privileged individual and I am not cheating my way though college. Not all of us are ::cough cough:: in Greek life ::cough cough:: where we spend our time drinking instead of going to class and then needing to take more drugs because we started our homework 2 hours before it is due. I am proud of the U, I am proud to be a student here. I shouldn’t have to be so embarrassed by my peers on the newspaper staff.

  7. Writers don’t choose their titles to the commenter named “disappointed” and one of my friends talked to the author who said he was clearly trying to write satirically but much of his writing was edited so people neeed to calm down.

  8. What bothers me most is that you guys honestly think you didn’t do anything wrong. Regardless of your opinion on Adderall, the bigger issue here is the image you are portraying of the University of Miami to everyone else. This is legit just embarrassing. How do you think potential employers who read these articles will look to recent graduates of UM? And yeah, maybe they will never read this. But maybe they will. And you carelessly published it. I’m sure the editor will be fine with her controversial decisions, but everyone else might get a second look at their application so you can thank her for that.

    This article is bad and you should feel bad.

    Also, what has President Shalala said about this? Does she even know? I wouldn’t be surprised if the editor gets called into her office any day now…Good luck!

  9. Okay, you were born less intelligent than others–your argument is a clear indication of this. So bust your ass. Get in the library. No one besides those actually prescribed Adderall has any excuse to use it.

  10. You know what else is cheating? Being born smarter than others. Or with a greater work ethic or attention to detail. Fact.

    You know what else was immoral and/or illegal 50 years ago? Homosexuality, women working after marriage, having sex before marriage, having a child out of wedlock, teaching science, being Jewish. Most of these are still illegal in Mississippi and West Virginia. (I am not endorsing stereotypes, though I do respect the freedom do discuss them in a public forum).

    I hereby decree that henceforth Andrew Blitman will be known as Inspector Javert. If you see him on campus, show some respect and address him by his proper name and title.

  11. We should chastise those who illegally use Adderall. It’s illegal. It’s immoral. It’s shameful. They’re cheaters, and they deserve to be recognized as such.

  12. By naming the article “Stressed-out students should take advantage of pills” your staff is most definitely endorsing the illegal use of prescription drugs. It says it right there. Also, he glorifies the use of Adderall throughout the piece. I understand that since it’s an editorial piece he is entitled to an opinion, but you have to know when the line is crossed. You should realize that as the editor of the school newspaper you need to offer an apology or at least seem like you care the least bit about what most of your target audience thinks about the newspaper you represent. Endorsing drugs is not okay. It does not matter if he is legally prescribed to them, because he is advocating other students that are not prescribed to them to use, and abuse, them. I feel personally offended that he says we have become an ADHD population. I like substance and I like depth of thought. I am not part of this so called population who enjoys meaningless content and mindless entertainment. If the piece really was satire, it was terribly done.I think it was completely unnecessary and am extremely disappointed that this is what outsiders see of our school. I know I will not think of the Miami Hurricane the same way I did before.

  13. andrew blitman and eric w, grow up and get over it. do us all a favor and please get a room together and blow each other over your love for this subject.

    while you guys are at it, maybe you should take your crusades on to other topics as well.. how about the sodium amounts that are in shelf foods? ever read THOSE labels andrew? processed food is horrible for the human body so you guys should try to fight that cause as well. Maybe you can take it to the supreme court with your research abilities and see if you can get what you want changed as well.

    I see your points about a school newspaper publishing this and you think its wrong, but its an opinion piece and the author was poking fun at the problem that any intelligent, mature individual knows is on every campus across the nation. you guys need to lighten up and realize there is a good amount of jokes/sarcasm in the article

  14. The problem here was the staff editorial that said that abusing prescription drugs is okay. It is never okay. It is a felony, it is unethical, it is unfair to those of us who don’t need to pop pills to get good grades (an exception to this, of course, is those that actually have ADHD or narcolepsy), it is a crime that is punishable by three years in jail, and it should never be said to be okay. Drugs are not the answer. Parents of that whole editorial staff at the Hurricane would be ashamed to know that they’re spending $200,000 for their kids to take drugs.

    Groups on campus have spent years trying to get students to reduce their illegal drug use. The Miami Hurricane just tried to cancel all that out and say that it is okay. It. is. never. okay. Anyone who is caught abusing prescription drugs should be kicked out of UMiami, as they are at countless other institutions across the country. The Miami Hurricane has lost all respect from so many students, alumni and professional staff. I sincerely hope that no high school students touring campus this week picked up a Hurricane–I would never choose to apply to a school if I read that their newspaper was endorsing illegal drug use.

    Miami Hurricane, you had a chance to redeem yourself and you chose not to.

  15. Here’s the majority ruling from a 1988 Supreme Court case, Hazelwood vs. Kuhlmeier, that set the precedent for what school newspapers are legally allowed to publish under the First Amendment (http://www.firstamendmentschools.org/freedoms/case.aspx?id=186):

    “A school must also retain the authority to refuse to sponsor student speech that might reasonably be perceived to advocate drug or alcohol use, irresponsible sex, or ‘conduct otherwise inconsistent with the shared values of a civilized social order,’ or to associate the school with any position other than neutrality on matters of political controversy.” (Justice Byron White)

  16. Here’s the majority ruling from a 1988 Supreme Court case, Hazelwood vs. Kuhlmeier, that set the precedent for what school newspapers are legally allowed to publish under the First Amendment (http://www.firstamendmentschools.org/freedoms/case.aspx?id=186):

    “A school must also retain the authority to refuse t
    o sponsor student speech that might reasonably be perceived to advocate drug or alcohol use, irresponsible sex, or ‘conduct otherwise inconsistent with the shared values of a civilized social order,’ or to associate the school with any position other than neutrality on matters of political controversy.” (Justice Byron White)

  17. Thanks, Judgement Day. Once again, I think that drug abuse is a major problem in this country and city. But as the article said, demeaning those who use them doesn’t always work. Many people need counseling and other things to break horrible addictions and everybody has different circumstances. I’ll condense my argument into 2 points. I’ll number them for you as well.
    1. Freedom of speech is perhaps the greatest aspect of American democracy. Just because you don’t like what somebody said doesn’t mean that the source should be quieted. A reasonable conversation is always better than the some self-righteous person crying foul and shutting everything down.
    2. The article, in my opinion, raised an even greater point. Don’t judge somebody without knowing what they’ve been through. If you have the time to find fault with others, it would be best used looking in the mirror. As a civilization, we are too developed to continue with the prejudices that have hurt us in the past.

  18. Did you even read what I wrote Eric? I didn’t attack your opinion, I attacked the way you stated it. People like Hunter were merely trying to have a dialogue about the value of a paper that expresses diverse opinions and you decided to demean them in an extremely self-righteous way. I stated almost nothing about my opinion on the op-ed. If you must know, I agree that the op-ed was, on balance, irresponsible. Especially considering parts of it are known to be scientifically inaccurate (there are considerable side effects associated with Adderall and they affect individuals differently).

  19. Judgement i appreciate the irony of you attacking me for speaking out against drug abuse. If there is something wrong with wanting our student paper and its writers to be prohibited from encouraging drug abuse, then yes, condemn me. However, i stand by the fact that under no circumstances should students be allowed to use the school paper to promote drug use. Sorry that you feel otherwise.

  20. Would anyone care to explain to me where the Miami Hurricane gets it funding from? Would I be wrong to say that we the students pay for it through the Student Activities Fee?

  21. Eric, I think the decision to publish the op-ed was definitely questionable. But the only person who endorsed illegal use of prescription drugs is the author of the article. The editor, as well as the people on this thread, are only endorsing that person’s right to use the paper as a forum for his opinion. And your response to this is to tell hunter he needs to “be a better person, and [not] encourage abuse.” Another quote: “drug abuse is a universe wrong, so it doesn’t matter who you are.” Your friend, Jide B, expressed her opinion without demeaning the character of others. Eric, seriously take a look in the mirror and learn how to express an opinion without sounding so sanctimonious and self-righteous. Be a better person.

  22. If his article was satire, then he needs a writing course because the effect was non-existent. And if it was, then the paper needs to state so and write that it does not support drug abuse.

  23. But again, pursells piece was pretty clearly satirical and he has a prescription, so why are you getting so angry?

  24. I completely, wholeheartedly support Eric Weiss. He sees my point, and understands that justifying illegal drug use UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES is wrong morally and ethically. It’s cheating. If the Miami Hurricane wanted to address the circumstances behind the issue, the editors would have presented a completely different set of articles.

    So, feel free to justify cheating to get ahead if you like. It won’t make you a better person; it’ll just put a sinister shadow on your accomplishments. You’ll be like Lance Armstrong, condemned by the Hurricane last month for doing what you promote:

    http://www.themiamihurricane.com/2012/10/24/staff-editorial-armstrong-does-not-live-strong/

    So, dissenters to our arguments which you have yet to face directly, bask in your numerous addictions, the only things that give you meaning in this life. If anything, you should stand up to the environment that got us into this illegal drug habit in the first place.

    So, quit attacking the messengers. Listen to the message and get a life.

    Thank you for your consideration,

    Andrew Blitman

  25. When it is legally used, everything is fine. When it is Abused illegally, then i have am issue. The fact that you have to resort to cheap insults goes to show you do not have the maturity to understand the severity of the issue.

  26. Eric, don’t get your panties in a wad and get off that holier-than-thou attitude. Why do you care so much if someone uses a legally prescribed drug for mental enhancement and then goes on to tell people that it helped him do better in school. You don’t know anything about the author or the others who have commented in support. Adderall helps thousands of people who would otherwise fail out of school for a lack of focus. Does that make you better than them because your brain is chemically balanced? No, it makes them smart for knowing they need help and getting it.

  27. Lucky for me Hunter, drug abuse is a universal wrong, so it doesn’t matter who you are. I am reading articles saying that the illegal use of Adderall is ok. It is not, and anything said against that is perpetuating the problem rather than helping to stop it.

  28. I am a recent graduate of The University of Miami. All 4 years, I lived on campus and looked forward to every Monday and Thursday morning where I could open The Miami Hurricane and read well written articles and responsible journalism. This casts a VERY dark shadow on this usually respectable news source.

    Drug use, especially prescription drug use, is a MAJOR problem on college campuses and can lead to terrible life outcomes for students.

    There is no doubt that the author, Mr. Pursell, has a right to his opinion and free speech but a college newspaper is NOT the forum to promote illegal drug use.

    “Life is hard, I do(illegal activity) because it makes me feel better and makes life easier for me, I also advocate it for you to help take the edge off.” If you replace that illegal activity with anything from cocaine use to vandalism to the possession of child pornography, you would NOT post the article because it is IRRESPONSIBLE of you to do so.

    I am very disappointed in The Miami Hurricane at this point in time and think a retraction would be the best step forward.

    I applaud Mr. Andrew Blitman for resigning from this organization and my friend Mr. Eric W for standing up against this.

  29. Promoting illegal drug use, what are you reading? You don’t know who I am nor what I do. Instead of judging others, take a peek in the mirror. We need to improve ourselves and help others out. One of the best ways to prevent drug abuse is being supportive of your friends. Do that, and your efforts will not be in vain.

  30. Ok Hunter, so next article should be about the benefits of Heroine and Cocaine use. Freedom of speech supports our right to speak our mind, but this is a UM student using school resources to promote the illicit act of prescription drug abuse. Judgement here is 100% justified as he represents the paper, students, and the entire school. You are part of the problem, you turn an uncaring eye away from the serious problem of drug abuse by simply saying, everybody does it. Be a better person, and don’t encourage abuse.

  31. If anything, I support free speech and I commend you for not taking it down. Prescription drug abuse is an issue in this community, but guess what? It didn’t appear out of nowhere. It’s been an issue for years and has been pretty obvious to any college student who is aware of their surroundings that such drugs are easily obtainable. I’m not saying that using Adderall is ethically or morally right or whatever, but realize that each person has their own set of personal circumstances and we should treat each case individually. Don’t disdain the person who uses it because they are in a situation where they need it. Don’t judge the person next to you because you have no idea what they’ve been through/what problems they have That’s what the article says, albeit in a somewhat cluttered way. I don’t know why people are so offended by this article, Dear V says a lot more raunchy things. Freedom of speech means freedom of all speech, no matter how convenient it is. That’s what our country is founded on.

  32. From Monday’s editorial (http://www.themiamihurricane.com/2012/11/11/magic-pill-can-enhance-focus-drive/):

    “You can blame the system. You can blame college professors. You can even blame society for not making exceptions to the rule that some students must “do it all.” Whichever way you look at it, students have been forced to search for ways to boost their drive, and Adderall is indeed a solution.

    Adderall won’t make you smarter or invincible, it just heightens your drive to finish study guides, research papers and projects. Others shouldn’t look down on those who need – and welcome – the extra push.”

    How does this not endorse Adderall abuse? Please elaborate and take accountability for your actions.

  33. I encourage all alumni to refrain from donating to The Miami Hurricane until an apology and a redaction are published regarding their stance to prescription drug abuse.

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