Letter to the Editor: Student Government speaks

Published: April 8, 2016

In last week’s edition of The Aquinas, Mr. Matthew DeFrenza—in “University responds to Mulberry Street crossing”—opined yet again a piece of schoolyard chicanery masquerading as a sophisticated, sardonic opinion. In this latest piece, Mr. DeFrenza continues his pattern of imbuing The Aquinas—unfortunately—with vitriol, asinine statements and un-researched claims.
From the micro-aggressions replete in the piece attacking the Scranton writers of Her Campus to the reactionary bullying in the piece on man buns, Mr. DeFrenza’s writings are not befit for The Aquinas, nor do these writings reflect the Jesuit ideals we hold on this campus.

As student leaders, it is our duty to ensure that we hold ourselves and all other students accountable; in this vein, we have worked since the first incident on Mulberry to ensure the safety of our fellow students. The school has petitioned local and state officials and offices over the years—not solely in reaction to the incidents—to install any combination of the following: speed bumps, stop signs, road caution signs and traffic lights—in an attempt to ensure the safety of students and visitors to the campus. We were dismayed last week that Mr. DeFrenza’s article implied that none of these solutions were attempted, and further implied that the dedicated administrators in

The University’s Student Formation and Campus Life department “assume that each student here is an absolutely daft imbecile.” No Mr. DeFrenza, those in the aforementioned department—and all those who dedicate their lives to this University—hold in high esteem the character, intelligence and dignity of all students on this campus; that Mr. DeFrenza felt chided by administrators due to the intelligent decision to subtly remind students to heed caution in crossing the street is Mr. DeFrenza’s opinion—yes—but does not warrant his astonishingly childish, churlish response. Further, the onus is on Mr. DeFrenza to research thoroughly what the school and the Office of Student Government has done before publishing claims to the contrary.

Mr. DeFrenza stated in his piece that crossing the street was a lesson taught to us by our parents—and, yes, it was.

However, the knowledge that a lesson was taught by an adult figure does not preclude the need for daily reminders of all that we have learned—for in the moment these brief reminders can save lives. Secondly, we would like to share a lesson we learned from one of our grandmothers: “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Mr. DeFrenza’s quip that Mr. Christopher Kilner is “the administration’s puppet” does not deserve a response other than that Mr. DeFrenza should research Mr. Kilner’s life and accomplishments before making a claim about Mr. Kilner’s will, motivation, capability, and independence; and, if Mr. DeFrenza was still intent on making such a claim, at least Mr. DeFrenza should have had the courage and dignity to say it directly to Mr. Kilner.

We recognize that in journalism, there is a niche for disagreement and reporting of facts which may contain negative connotations—diplomatic in all cases, however. Importantly, pieces which without warrant attack administrators, fellow students and Scranton community members are not—unequivocally—works of journalism; these pieces belong in tabloids at best. If Mr. DeFrenza is seeking an outlet in public discourse for constructive, diplomatic conversation and growth, The Aquinas serves as that forum; if Mr. DeFrenza is seeking an outlet for a vendetta against others, a reaction to the work and dedication of fellow students, and a voicing of disdain for administrators, The Aquinas is not—and never shall be—that forum; rather, the wild-west of the blogosphere or the confines of his living room would serve that purpose.

In writing the incendiary pieces Mr. DeFrenza has over the past year, he has discredited himself, The Aquinas, the student body and The University as institutions which uphold the values espoused by the Jesuits and all decent people.

Finally, we are not alone in these sentiments: the readers of The Aquinas and Mr. DeFrenza’s future employers share them.
In conclusion, we ask the following: that Mr. DeFrenza publicly apologize to those who he mentioned by name without their approval or foreknowledge; that Mr. DeFrenza cease writing un-researched, micro-aggression filled pieces; and that The Aquinas review its forum policy to ensure it remains a space dedicated to diplomatic, constructive, leadership-building discourse. We do not believe these requests are burdensome, and further, we believe they are constructive. A lesson we all were taught—but maybe need a reminder of—that can guide our work as student leaders is: “anything worth doing is worth doing right;” so, if Mr. DeFrenza desires to state his opinions in the future, we hope he does so in the right way.

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam,

Christopher Kilner & Isabella Dolente

Student Government President and Vice-President

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