Do the crime and beg forgiveness?

Submitted: Feb 20, 2017
By: 
Badlands Journal editorial board

 

 

The worst thing about this journalistic foul is that everyone who subsequently acknowledged, recognized, or realized that they had violated the privacy and endangered the futures of these young students did not know what they were doing when they did it and have no idea of the harm they have caused, the anxiety and fear they have raised; they have no idea of the damage they did. For their different motives, they were all willing to violate these kids.

The New York Times frequently proves that it neither cares for California or understands it. Thed ignorance is one thing, but this story stinks of something stronger than cow shit, a rotten heart. -- blj

 

 

 

2-3-17

New York Times

Creating a Safe Space for California Dreamers

Patricia Leigh Brown https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/03/education/edlife/daca-undocumented-university-of-california-merced-fiat-lux-scholars.html?_r=0

The University of California, Merced, rises apparition-like out of a landscape of cow pastures, cotton fields and grasslands. In the cool of the morning, the faint scent of manure, the olfactory signature of the Central Valley, hangs in the air.

The campus is meant to evoke this rural setting. The crop-colored yellow and gold exterior of Tenaya Hall is set off by corrugated metal accents — touches reminiscent of the silos and the fields in which so many of the students’ parents work. Tenaya Hall is home to the Fiat Lux Scholars, a special initiative for first-generation, low-income students that is named for the University of California’s motto, “Let There Be Light.”

The Merced campus opened in 2005; with just 7,000 students (it’s slated to expand by 2020 to 10,000) it does not yet possess the critical mass necessary to support a Gap, a Shake Shack, a Starbucks or other college-town amenities. And so it remains of the Valley — a place of poverty, hit hard by the foreclosure crisis, in which an aspiration gap plays out in underperforming schools; only about 13 percent of Merced County residents have a bachelor’s degree.

The university’s mission has been to change that equation. About 70 percent of the student body are the first in their families to attend college, and roughly 5 percent are undocumented immigrants.

The Fiat Lux program, established in 2010, is designed to reach these students, the ones who grew up sleeping on living room floors so the bedrooms could be rented out, or who learned how to rub garlic on the bottoms of shoes to ward off snakes while crossing the desert. The idea is to provide a pedagogical and social armature to help them navigate college, especially the pivotal first year that research shows is the strongest predictor of college success.

And so as freshmen, 175 of the scholars, 22 of them undocumented, live together on the upper two floors of Tenaya Hall, sharing sparsely decorated rooms reflective of their modest means — a graduation watch here, a pair of Huaraches there.

One of them is Aurora Fabian. On the wall over her bunk bed in Room 351C there is a thumb-tacked quote she takes to heart: “Happy People Shine Brighter!” Like her peers who entered the country illegally, Ms. Fabian always tries to shine bright. Her path from Mexico to this campus was hard won. From fifth grade onward, she was out until almost midnight helping her single mother mop, sweep and clean the counters of a bakery before moving on to scrub the tile floors of a nearby Italian restaurant.

Through it all, she managed to play high school soccer, run cross-country, work summers and weekends on the Santa Cruz boardwalk. Determined to “change our family history,” as she puts it, Ms. Fabian won two local scholarships and a coveted spot at the University of California.

Collectively, the freshmen in Tenaya Hall are the beacons of a better life. They are the sons and daughters of housekeepers, dishwashers, fast-food cooks, farm laborers, landscapers, garment workers who stitch labels onto clothing and contractors who build swimming pools for affluent homeowners along the coast.

Francisco Gavidia in Room 470C fled the violence in El Salvador, sleeping on his grandmother’s dirt floor until he could join his parents, whom he knew only through photos and phone calls. He remembers an incident growing up in East Los Angeles in which his mother, who worked below minimum wage, took him to the E.R. with a bloody nose and was handed a bill for $3,000. “I felt really bad,” he said, jiggling his leg as he recalled it. “It was just a bloody nose and it was really expensive.”

Cruzangel Nava in Room 450G, a political science major, grew up in a part of Coachella light years away from the eponymous music festival. The family lost their two-story home to foreclosure during the recession; Mr. Nava, then in seventh grade, watched in stunned silence as his parents sold off the family’s two cars, his toys, his bike, his game system and his clothes — his father’s hand-embroidered poncho hanging in his dorm room a cherished exception. “They told me they were selling to people who didn’t have things,” he said.

Juan Robles in Room 451A saved up money for college by picking plums alongside his mother, who raised three children by rising at 4:30 a.m. six days a week to work in the fields. A champion debater, Mr. Robles is easy to spot in his jacket, tie and matching silk pocket handkerchief, a sartorial foreshadowing of his career goal to be a legislator crafting “small policies that can make a big difference in someone’s life.” It’s a difference he knows first hand.

Theirs is the #undocupower generation.

Many of Tenaya’s undocumented come from so-called mixed-status families, with siblings born in the United States. Karen Gomez, a sophomore who serves as a peer counselor, tried to stifle the envy she felt being left behind during summers while a younger sister traveled to Mexico, including to their grandmother’s funeral. “She’d say little ungrateful things about going,” she said. “I’d think, ‘Don’t you realize how lucky you are?’ ” Her sister, now a junior in high school, will be eligible for scholarships that her big sister cannot apply for. A model peer counselor, Ms. Gomez tapes safe sex pamphlets, free condoms and other necessities of college life on her door.

Living together as a cohort is meant to foster bonding, and to ease first-generation students into the larger community. It is also an approach strongly associated with student retention; Fiat Lux Scholars graduate at a higher rate than students with comparable grade-point averages. Those accepted into the program — there is a waiting list — attend numerous workshops aimed at what is called procedural knowledge, boning up on study skills and learning how to connect with professors and research opportunities. Several times a semester there are organized lunches with faculty members.

Many come to college never having met a professor, notes Tanya Golash-Boza, a sociology professor. “Some come into my office literally shaking.”

Ms. Golash-Boza recently completed a study of 35 undocumented Merced students and found that 22 of their families earned less than $25,000 a year, on par with the average for undocumented students across the University of California’s 10 campuses. Financial pressure is considerable, she said, but because of Merced’s first-generation majority, students feel less isolated. “These students understand not being able to afford lunch,” she said. “There’s no shame associated with being poor here.”

Charles Nies, the vice chancellor of student affairs, was a first-generation, low-income student himself. The guiding premise, he said, is to “create an environment where these students matter.”

Many in Tenaya Hall grew up having to keep their status a secret, a heavy psychic burden. Madely Martinez, a biology major, remembers hiding from vigilantes after being dropped off in the desert by a blue truck, having to lie flat and still as fire ants crawled all over her. The scene would repeat itself in recurring childhood nightmares. “I was always afraid,” she said. “I thought that even my friends might call the cops.”

For Ms. Martinez, the opportunity to live among smart young people who grew up in similarly fraught circumstances felt like a chrysalis breaking open — the butterfly the apt symbol of the immigrant rights movement.

 

 “You don’t have to hide the person you are,” she explained, sitting amid miscellaneous stuffed turtles and under a poster for the Dance Coalition, the campus performing troupe she belongs to. “Coming here, I realize I’m not the only person who has these fears.”

She is among thousands of students around the country who are attending college largely because of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA. The directive, established in 2012 by executive action, provides work authorization and a temporary reprieve from deportation for so-called Dreamers (derived from failed legislation called Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors), who entered the country illegally as children. While undocumented students are ineligible for federal financial aid, including loans, with DACA they can take jobs and graduate teaching assistantships to help defray the cost of their education.

The directive is distinct from most immigration policies in placing educational attainment front and center; applicants must be in school or have a high school diploma or equivalent. DACA recipients — there are more than 750,000 nationally — tend to be an accomplished bunch: Nearly 15 percent are pursuing a master’s degree or higher, according to a 2016 national survey, and 28 percent are studying STEM, making it the most popular major. Because they can renew their DACA status every two years, many have leveraged their education into careers in their chosen fields.

On the morning of Nov. 9, the study lounge on Tenaya’s fourth floor filled with students in their pajamas calling their parents through tears. “I couldn’t hold my composure,” recalled Cruzangel Nava. “I completely broke down.” Many students, fearing the potential deportation of their parents, headed home to keep them close.

“There was a lot of anxiety,” said Ms. Gomez, the peer counselor. “People wanted to be with their families.”

Donald J. Trump campaigned on the vow that he would send the undocumented home and terminate DACA, calling the executive action that created it illegal and unconstitutional. On DACA, he has softened his tone. In the president’s first week in office, a spokesman said that Mr. Trump would work with Congress for “a long-term solution on that issue,” and instead focus on deporting those with criminal records.

But Mr. Trump has taken forceful action against immigrants, closing the borders to refugees and ordering his wall with Mexico. His choice for attorney general, Jeff Sessions of Alabama, has been a consistent and vociferous critic of both illegal and legal immigration, and has tried several times to pass laws abolishing DACA. What the president has in mind for DACA is an open question.

Students feel particularly vulnerable because applying for DACA means handing over personal information to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of the Department of Homeland Security. It is impossible to slough off anti-immigration sentiment and plans for walls when your very own family members are “the illegals.”

Alejandro Delgadillo, associate director of the Calvin E. Bright Success Center at Merced, which has a “safe space” for undocumented students, has been trying to calm nerves. The university had sent notices around in December urging DACA students studying abroad to come home well before Jan. 20 to avoid possible detention at the border. It likewise has advised those planning to study abroad to stay put. A “know your rights” legal workshop is set for early this month.

“We’ve always told our students to take advantage of the opportunities they have here at the university,” said Mr. Delgadillo, who has worked with unauthorized students for 25 years. “I can be reassuring,” he said. “But for the first time in my professional career, I can’t tell them not to fear.”

Diana Peña, the U.C. system’s full-time mental health provider for undocumented students, based at Berkeley, said her caseload has nearly doubled since the election. Students have had difficulty sleeping and taking tests or complain of “headaches and stomach aches having to do with the way the body absorbs stress,” she said. These symptoms, she said, have been exacerbated by discriminatory comments on social media.

“The lives of these students are very fragile,” said Marcelo M. Suárez-Orozco, dean of the graduate school of education at the University of California at Los Angeles and an author of a national study in 2015 of undocumented undergraduates. They have spent their formative years in a “labyrinth of liminality,” he said. “They play Little League, they sell lemonade, they join the Boy and Girl Scouts. And then one day they learn: By the way, you’re not an American.”

The study found “breathtaking levels of anxiety,” with clinical stress levels four times higher for young women and seven times higher for young men than the norm. Respondents also reported feeling isolated on campus, uncertain about whom they could trust.

DACA has given these goal-oriented young people the opportunity to plan and imagine a future for themselves, Dr. Suárez-Orozco said. They now find themselves in a “horrific Kafka-like situation” in which they have potentially outed their parents to federal authorities. “What young people crave more than anything else is a sense of belonging,” he added. “Now they are going back to a deep crisis of uncertainty. This is a seismic shift.”

Francisco Mascorro Montes — Kiko to his friends — keeps rosaries from his Mexican grandmother beside his bed in Tenaya Hall, an emblem of his faith. A mechanical engineering major, he is a member of Ingenieros Unidos, a student chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. He earned money for books and a laptop by operating a peach-sorting machine last summer.

“Any fear I have is for my parents,” he said. “I know the university has our backs.”

Indeed, in contrast to South Carolina and Alabama, which prohibit undocumented students from receiving in-state tuition, and Georgia, which prevents them from attending three top public universities, California has a formidable array of state laws and university policies designed to support them.

The state has the most DACA recipients in the country — about a third of the total — and they benefit from in-state tuition rates and access to financial aid under the California Dream Act ($1,670 for community colleges to a maximum of $12,294 for the University of California).

It was Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California, who developed DACA as secretary of Homeland Security under President Obama. Her appointment was at first controversial because of her enforcement of deportations. But early in her tenure as university president, she started a $5 million fund that pays for advisers like Mr. Delgadillo and resource centers on each campus, where undocumented students can receive academic, career and financial aid advice. Last year, her office allocated $8.4 million, much of it for a universitywide revolving “Dream Loan” fund.

Ms. Napolitano has taken a strong stance defending the civil rights of her system’s roughly 3,800 undocumented students, including stating publicly that the university would not comply with any national registry based on race, religion or national origin. She and heads of the state’s two other public university systems wrote a joint letter to Mr. Trump in support of DACA students.

California itself is poised to push back against the Trump administration. The Democratic-led legislature recently retained Eric H. Holder Jr., attorney general under President Obama, to represent them in any legal fights against the new Republican White House. Lawmakers have also pledged to enact legislation that would provide free legal help for immigrants facing deportation proceedings. Unauthorized children now receive Medi-Cal, state public health insurance for low-income residents, and Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill, awaiting a federal waiver, to allow undocumented immigrants to access the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (should it survive).

 

Nevertheless, educators and immigration lawyers are operating on the assumption that DACA is in jeopardy, even as they keep a watchful eye on the Bridge Act, co-authored by Senators Richard J. Durbin and Lindsey Graham, a potential lifeline that would extend benefits for three years if DACA is revoked and toughen confidentiality protections.

Allison Davenport, a staff lawyer at the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, has been meeting with students at the Dream Success Center at California State University, Fresno. Like many of her colleagues, she is advising first-timers who have yet to apply for DACA to hold off. They risk turning over their personal data with potentially no return. She has been up and down Highway 99, the spine of the Central Valley, conferring on family preparedness plans, including “What will happen if someone is detained?” and “Who are your emergency contacts at school?”

Advocates and administrators throughout California say they have observed pronounced signs of unsettledness. At California State, some undocumented students have been asking if they should drop out, others are limiting their time in public spaces; in the Long Beach Community College District, which has a large Cambodian population, students appear to be changing addresses without leaving forwarding information; applications for state financial aid are down by one-third compared with the same period last year. “Parents are afraid the information will not stay within the state,” said Lupita Cortez Alcalá, the executive director of the California Student Aid Commission.

If DACA goes, of course, the ability to work legally goes with it, along with any health insurance an employer might provide and, in some states, driver’s licenses and in-state tuition.

Raul Z. Moreno, coordinator of the Dream Outreach Center at California State, Fresno, said that graduates who either didn’t apply or did not qualify for DACA have been creatively cooking up career paths that do not require work authorization — the undocumented music teacher teaching at-risk students outside of school, the computer scientist who sets up shop repairing and selling cellular phones. “It depends on their special talent and academic preparation,” he said. “Unfortunately, this doesn’t use their full potential. Ideally, the system allows them to be who they want to become.”

Along with hot plates and minifridges, resilience and tenacity are staples of Tenaya Hall. In rooms grouped by sixes down long corridors, young people who spent their winter vacations cutting other peoples’ grass and cleaning other peoples’ floors try hard to study and party, and pretend everything is normal.

Rosalba Zavaleta, Aurora Fabian’s roommate, is confident that whatever happens with DACA, she will be fine; her concern is for her sister Faviola, who grew up with juvenile arthritis, unable to walk. The disease, with which she still struggles, was the impetus for the family’s journey from Mexico. A state program for low-income children with severe medical conditions paid for her surgeries.

“I don’t mind washing dishes,” Ms. Zavaleta said of the prospect of being deported. “But what’s going to happen to my sister?”

Cruzangel Nava, who is set on being a district attorney, would turn to farm labor and landscaping. “They don’t care who does that work as long as the work gets done,” he said, adding that being sent back to a country he doesn’t know “is like an animal in a cage being put into the wild.”

Ms. Gomez, whose mother is a hotel housekeeper, grew up in the cramped confines of farmworker housing. Some days, the family didn’t have enough to eat. On her desk at Merced, she keeps a picture of her high school graduation. She wears a cap and gown with a gold sash (for highest honors), a black sash (for student body president), a blue sash (for secretary of the community service organization) and a gold medal (for achievement in Advanced Placement calculus). “It shows me that if I made my parents proud that day, then I can continue when I graduate,” she said. She goes back to that photograph every single day.

Correction: February 12, 2017 
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An article last Sunday about undocumented students at the University of California, Merced, misstated a requirement for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, known as DACA, a renewable waiver from deportation for the undocumented who arrived as minors. DACA recipients can be in school or have a G.E.D. certificate; they do not have to be a high school graduate.

Patricia Leigh Brown, a former staff reporter for The Times, writes on culture and community from California.

 

2-7-17

New York Times

When Details in a Story Can Put People at Risk

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/07/public-editor/when-details-in-a-story-can-put-people-at-risk.html

When reporters are writing about private individuals they don’t typically publish the person’s exact street address. First, it’s usually irrelevant to the article, and more crucially, announcing the home address of anyone can be dangerous. Here’s the guidance from The New York Times stylebook: “In writing about a person whose family might face harassment or harm, consider a general neighborhood reference instead. If an exact address seems newsworthy because of a crime or other visible event, carefully consider the potential for harm before publishing it.”

That wasn’t the approach taken when the Times reporter Patricia Leigh Brown described academic life for some undocumented students on the campus of the University of California, Merced. The 22 students, mostly first-generation immigrants from impoverished families, share life together on the top two floors of a single dorm. And each time Brown described a student, she included their dorm room number, adding some visual geography as she described their modestly decorated surroundings.

Brown writes an engaging piece, not only about these students’ unlikely path to a campus of an acclaimed university, but also about education policy, which is not always easy to make engaging. Brown shows it’s possible.

It’s too bad that an otherwise strong piece was weakened by a decision to describe the students not just by their name, but by what is essentially their home address.

Two university administrators I contacted, both of whom were involved with The Times’s story, said they believe that inclusion of the dorm name and room numbers puts the undocumented students in danger.

“We didn’t think she (the reporter) would even use the name of the residence hall,” said Alejandro Delgadillo, who oversees services for undocumented students on the campus. “To include the room numbers puts a target on these students. We engage with a great deal of media and never felt that students were at risk by the information that we were sharing. This really violated that.”

Charles Nies, the interim vice chancellor for student affairs, said one can look no further than the comments on the story to see the animosity directed toward this group.

He’s right. Here’s one commenter who goes by “The cat in the hat”: “My neighbor’s spending 50k a year to send her daughter to college. But don’t worry, Mexicans. I’m sure she’ll be happy to spend another 50k of her own hard earned money so you that undocumented saints can have one as well!”

Several college professors wrote in, as did many Times readers. Lali DeRosier from Melbourne, Fla. wrote:

I am shocked and dismayed that the piece identifies undocumented students, and that it made public their dormitory building and room numbers. This is sensitive information that should have been protected. By publishing this information, you have put these students at great risk, especially given the attitude of the current administration to undocumented people.

All of of the students in the piece agreed to the use of their names, and those who were photographed signed a release. The students also gave their dorm numbers, but according to Delgadillo, they did not realize the reporter was going to use them in the story.

The reporter told me that she now regrets the decision. “I am a mother myself and the last thing I’d want to do is jeopardize any student’s safety or give them cause for alarm,” said Brown. “In hindsight, understanding that the room numbers seem to have caused distress and concern, I, of course, would not have used them. I gave the students the option of not using their full names (none of them took it) and did ask for their room numbers, even double-checking them with some.”

Jane Karr, an education editor at The Times, said she is comfortable with the decision to publish the dorm numbers and does not believe that they are putting the students in danger.

“Having a room number did not give you more access to the students,” she said. “It’s a secure building.”

173COMMENTS

Phil Corbett, associate managing editor for standards, said he too understood the decision to use the dorm address, saying that, while The Times doesn’t want to create unwarranted risk, the details are what make a narrative compelling.

Sometimes that’s true. But in this case, the dorm numbers were not make-or-break details. Since the students agreed to give their names, and signed a release for the use of their image, then I think The Times is certainly within good journalistic standards to use them. But saying who lives behind which door seems like an unnecessary intrusion that didn’t help the students or the story.

 

 

2-8-17

UC Merced

Our Commitment to UC Merced DREAMers

February 8, 2017

http://chancellor.ucmerced.edu/content/our-commitment-uc-merced-dreamers

Dear Campus Community,

The support of so many members of our campus community for the plight of students who have been—or may be—affected by changes in immigration policy is truly heartening. We are a campus that values our diversity and expresses this value in its care for others.

I want to address controversy generated by the recent New York Times story about some of our undocumented students. These students were interviewed in November, shortly after the election, as part of a larger look at undocumented students and our Fiat Lux Scholars program. These brave students agreed to be interviewed, signed releases for photographs, and agreed to have their names used.

The stories of these students are amazing — they are courageous, enormously talented, and truly have the potential to continue to make positive contributions to their communities, state and nation.

But the results of the November election created a more ominous context for undocumented students, and the article — produced and published by the New York Times earlier this month — focused almost exclusively on their stories. Unfortunately, personal details were also revealed in the story that were not appropriate, particularly in the current political environment.

We have been in communication with the New York Times since the article’s release. Within that organization, there was disagreement about the propriety of releasing sensitive information. However, yesterday, the newspaper published an opinion by its public editor entitled, “ When Details in a Story Can Put People at Risk .” In it, the editor states that sensitive information regarding the students’ residences should not have been included in the story, and the author of the story states that she now regrets including that information. Sadly, they refuse to remove the private information from the online article, despite our multiple requests for this outcome.

Student affairs staff members have engaged in a number of conversations with the involved students. We have identified “safe space” housing for the students if they choose to use it. The safety of our students is paramount and security measures have been undertaken. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.

There has been an unfair inference to at least one member of our faculty who has been maligned for her purported role in this incident. In fact, the interviews had no connections whatsoever to the research conducted by the faculty member.

These are difficult times for many, and I will continue to affirm in word and action our commitment to students, wherever they may come from and the circumstance that brought them here. We cannot control the media, but we can control our response to students and others who need our support. Particularly for undocumented and Muslim students, faculty and staff, and others in our campus community who feel uneasy during this period of uncertainty, our support is more important now than ever.

We must all reaffirm our commitment to the UC Principles in Support of Undocumented Members of the UC Community and do everything within our power to continue to respond to the needs of our students, faculty and staff.

Sincerely,

Dorothy Leland
Chancellor

Students

Faculty

Staff

Messages to Campus

Academic Year: 

 

2016-17

 

 

 

2-13-17

Merced Sun-Star

UC Merced students dismayed over New York Times story that used dorm room numbers

Thaddeus Miller

http://www.mercedsunstar.com/news/local/education/uc-merced/article132527889.html

 

UC Merced students profiled this month in a New York Times story about undocumented immigrants say their safety has been put at risk because the Times’ reporter published their dorm room addresses.

In a story titled “Creating a Safe Space for California Dreamers” that ran online on Feb. 3, and in the following Sunday’s print edition, Times reporter Patricia Leigh Brown profiled a number of undocumented students in Merced, telling their stories and describing how the campus tries to help them be successful in the classroom.

The story includes the names of undocumented students, the dorm hall they live in and many of their room numbers. Advocates for the students have said the story was too specific and could put the young people in danger.

Chancellor Dorothy Leland addressed the article and concerns from the campus community, noting that undocumented students and the children of undocumented parents are experiencing “difficult times” since President Donald Trump’s inauguration.

 “Student affairs staff members have engaged in a number of conversations with the involved students,” Leland said in a statement. “We have identified ‘safe space’ housing for the students if they choose to use it. The safety of our students is paramount and security measures have been undertaken.”

“Sadly, they refuse to remove the private information from the online article, despite our multiple requests for this outcome,” Leland said.

The university declined to say whether any students had since been threatened or had asked to change rooms, citing privacy issues, according to spokesman James Leonard.

The article spurred a meeting of undocumented students from UC Merced, according to Zuleyma Guillermo, a 21-year-old psychology student. Students already were nervous about a Trump presidency, she said, and their fears have continued to grow as he makes changes to immigration policy.

Guillermo was not featured in the Times story, but manages the Mi Casa SALE, a rental property run through the UC Merced student group Students Advocating Law and Education that often houses undocumented students.

Using the dorm room numbers “just wasn’t necessary,” she said.

“They should have been a little more cautious about the people they’re dealing with,” she said. “We’ve been tiptoeing where we step. Releasing this kind of information – it’s scary.”

Even if they are protected under the deferred-action program, known as DACA, students can be targets of hate or anger, she noted.

Printing a student’s dorm room number is tantamount to printing someone’s address, according to Alex Delgadillo, who oversees services for undocumented students and special populations at UC Merced. He said the immigration status of students is a “hot topic” that could make the students into targets.

He said the students in the original story were disappointed in the use of dorm rooms numbers, but were handling it with “poise and grace.”

 “They didn’t lose sight of the essence of the article and what it was intended to do,” he said. “They feel resilient in that regard that they’ll still get their message across and other young people are going to read that story and, beyond the room numbers, will see, ‘Hey, that’s my story. I can do the same.’ ”

There are 444 undocumented students at UC Merced, he said on Monday.

In a New York Times column from Feb. 7 called “When Details in a Story Can Put People at Risk” authored by public editor Liz Spayd, the editor discussed the controversy. The use of the dorm room numbers is portrayed as a storytelling tool to add “some visual geography as (the reporter) described their modestly decorated surroundings.”

Brown said she regretted using the dorm room numbers, according to the column. All of the students profiled agreed to allow use of their names, and those who were photographed signed a release, according to the Times.

“I am a mother myself and the last thing I’d want to do is jeopardize any student’s safety or give them cause for alarm,” Brown said in the column. “In hindsight, understanding that the room numbers seem to have caused distress and concern, I, of course, would not have used them. I gave the students the option of not using their full names (none of them took it) and did ask for their room numbers, even double-checking them with some.”

 

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