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College Papers Won't Rewrite History For Alumni 221

Posted by kdawson
from the you-broke-it-you-bought-it dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "The Chronicle of Higher Education reports that as college papers have begun digitizing their back issues, their Web sites have become the latest front in the battle over online identities. Youthful activities like underage drinking that once would have disappeared into the recesses of a campus library are now preserved on the public record, and alumni are contacting newspapers with requests for redaction. Unlike with Facebook profiles, that other notable source of young-adult embarrassment, the affected parties can't remove or edit questionable content. In 2007, a Cornell University alum sued the Cornell Chronicle over a newly digitized article from 1983 that reported he had been charged with burglary while a student at Cornell. The alum found the article after Googling his name and claimed that its new presence online was causing him 'mental anguish' and 'loss of reputation.' But a California judge threw out the case after determining the report to be accurate. Some student papers, like The University Daily Kansan, have found a middle ground by adding the noindex meta tag so that the documents stay online, but search engines such as Google do not index them. 'I thought that would be better than kind of like sticking it to [the alum] and saying the paper is always right and we can publish anything on the Web we want,' says the paper's editor."
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College Papers Won't Rewrite History For Alumni

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  • by randuev (1032770) on Sunday May 24, 2009 @04:53AM (#28073299)
    isn't it obvious, that once something has happened it cannot be erased from history of this light cone? the only thing you could possibly do about events in your past is to provide an alternative version preferably as soon as this happened. i have plenty of record online under my real name, of course there are some things that are embarassing to me ages ago, but plenty of time has went past :)
    • by sigxcpu (456479) on Sunday May 24, 2009 @05:06AM (#28073341)

      Although some email clients pretend to have such an option, I have never seen it work.
      You always get these bogus messages saying that someone is trying to recall the email. Which just makes things worse.

      What you really need is a TOTAL RECALL option.

      (Insert your favorite 1984 quote here.)

      • by timmarhy (659436) on Sunday May 24, 2009 @05:42AM (#28073467)
        exchange server allows it. your shitout of luck if it's across the internet though. really if your a twit when your young the best course of action is to admit you were an idiot and say you've learnt from your actions.

        it's rather retarded to think some 50 yo CFO who has had an outstanding career is any less capable because he was arrested for drunk and disorderly 30 years ago. frankly i find such things refreshing knowing the big guns are human as well.

        • He may have also invoked the Streisand Effect by attempting to get it removed. Who'd have noticed until he got upset?
    • by Jurily (900488) <jurily&gmail,com> on Sunday May 24, 2009 @06:16AM (#28073591)

      isn't it obvious, that once something has happened it cannot be erased from history of this light cone?

      As even the summary mentioned, the problem is not that it's archived: it's instantly searchable.

      Just for fun, I found a picture about myself drunk in 3 minutes with Google. Of course I know what I was looking for, and anyone else has no chance whatsoever to identify me now, but there you go.

      P.S. I'm not even registered on any social networking site.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 24, 2009 @06:46AM (#28073711)

        A print of this [xkcd.com] has been taped to my wall.

        Everything we have done has been done because it seemed good at the time for the motives we had at the time and to those personalities we were then.

        If I ever meet a company that chooses not to hire me because they can google my political/religious/ideological views, find out that I partied a lot in college or something like that, it isn't a good company to work for anyways. I am sure that even the folks in HR realize that people change over time and them being able to find my LiveJournal account from my teen years doesn't mean that I am still that angsty. But I also see no reason to be embarrassed that I was like that at the time.

        • being able to find my LiveJournal account from my teen years doesn't mean that I am still that angsty. But I also see no reason to be embarrassed that I was like that at the time.

          Your hope [youtube.com] is duly noted : )

      • by hitmark (640295)

        Indeed, when one ones had to go to a specific archive and physically look at pages upon pages, one can now enter a name and maybe a date and have results upon result in a matter of seconds, from anywhere on the planet.

        It turns a "why?" into a "why not?"...

    • I have never done anything that would be the least bit embarrassing.

      Since I've changed my name.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by centuren (106470)

      I was discussing tattoos with a friend, and when I mentioned forearm tattoos, she pointed out that forearm tattoos can affect future employment, otherwise she would have full sleeves done already.

      After thinking about that for a moment, I pointed out that our choices affect the direction of our lives. Her last job was a mindless office job (think Happy Times in "Dead Like Me", Office Space, etc). If she's someone who sees having her arms beautifully tattooed, who's to say it won't have a positive effect on h

  • Simple Solution. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by supernova_hq (1014429) on Sunday May 24, 2009 @05:07AM (#28073349)
    Don't want your stupid college actions preserved forever? Don't do stupid things!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      The problem for alums like this is that tweens don't often think as clearly as their 30/40 iteration would wishes.

      • No, the problem is that they don't have enough money to donate to the school to have the records revised much more quietly, or to hire an editor who's a friend. It's much easier to get such material trimmed via "editoral trimming" by a friend on staff than via an outright request.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)

        Tough shit. Younger generations are going to be published on the web from the day they're born... if you want to worry about anybody's online reputation, worry about theirs.

        Sure, some now-lawyer did something damned stupid when it was 20 years old in college, and it's out there for everybody to see. Guess what? Damned stupid stuff I wrote when I was 14 years old is out there for everybody to see, and I can't do jack to get rid of it. (Plus I share a name with a guy who runs a gay sports blog.)

        The greatest t

    • by hitmark (640295) on Sunday May 24, 2009 @05:26AM (#28073413) Journal

      Optionally, make the adult world understand that stupid things done at earlier age do not mean that they are guaranteed to repeat said stupidity at a later age...

      The thinking these days seems to be that we are robots, with set behavior cut in stone at a early age, with no ability to alter that except when guided by trained professionals in a controlled environment.

      • If you have to pick between someone that did a bunch of stupid stuff at university and someone who didn't, who are you going to pick? These are not kids we are talking about. They are 18+ years old. When the hell are they going to grow up and take responsibility for their own mistakes/actions?
        • by hitmark (640295) on Sunday May 24, 2009 @06:46AM (#28073713) Journal

          And would not the first step towards taking responsibility, being honest about what one have done, rather then to try and cover that up?

          I would say its not important if the person did something stupid or not, as long as the person understand that what one did was stupid and do not plan to do so again if the chance presents itself.

          And i would not say that x number of years living is adult or not. Life is a continual learning experience, and i would say that adult comes when one can show that one have taken to heart the values and expectations there is of an "adult" in society, not when some amount of years have been accumulated.

          One yardstick i would want to use tho, is that of harming others. if someone can grasp that a action have the potential to harm someone else, and therefor refuses to do so, i would say the person is adult, or at least behaving as one. This based on seeing kids tormenting animals, insects and each other, because they can, and because the tormented reacts in a potentially amusing way. Yes, there are times and places where harming others are, if not needed, the only available option. But if the person approaches that time and place with reluctance, and stops when the minimal harm needed have been performed, the person still to be seen as a adult. Or at least, that's my opinion on the subject.

        • by Dan541 (1032000)

          Maybe when they realise Google reveals all.

        • What kind of "stupid stuff"? Are we talking coke and hookers or did some kid just get arrested for underage drinking?

      • by rastilin (752802)

        Optionally, make the adult world understand that stupid things done at earlier age do not mean that they are guaranteed to repeat said stupidity at a later age...

        I suspect the adult world already understands that, after all, they were once Uni students as well.

      • by Rich0 (548339)

        True. But, I think the fundamental issue is supply/demand. There are just more people able to do a job than there are (desirable) jobs that people are willing to pay good money for.

        So, if you're applying for a coveted position, and you are one of 50 resumes, and all of them are qualified, but you are the only one that has a record 20 years in the past, what do you think will happen?

        Sure, if there were one candidate that stood head and shoulders above the rest stuff like this would get overlooked. But usu

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Eivind (15695)

        Indeed -- I belong to those who think this is entirely okay.

        What's the problem ? That people can now sometimes see -evidence- that you're just human, which includes doing some things in your teenages which you likely wouldn't with 30 ? It's not as if this wasn't always the case, and anyone who's not an idiot knows it.

        If you where really much more of an idiot than the average Joe, then well, sucks to be you. But I -really- don't think it's much of a problem that acting like an idiot carries some risk that p

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          What's the problem ?

          In my case, there is an article that I wrote for the editorial of my newspaper when I was a freshman in college. I still stand by my statement, however my statement is not what is printed. The editorial staff took my letter and cut it down to fit into a rather 'blurb' style. The result is that my letter now looks like this:

          Statement *rationale for statement* conclusion, with the rationale heavily edited. It nearly changes my statement from a criticism of a policy for very specific

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Main Gauche (881147)

        Optionally, make the adult world understand...

        Ok, hold on a sec.

        *Waves Anti-Idiot Wand +5*

        There, that should do it. Keep in mind about 3% of the population probably made their save.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MrMista_B (891430)

      Don't do stupid things? Don't be human!

      • I think we should do a class-action lawsuit against kdawson for mental anguish.
    • by owlstead (636356) on Sunday May 24, 2009 @05:34AM (#28073439)

      That's true of course, but a bit too simple. Often these kind of public stories can punish somebody much more than the original sentence, even if there was one. Personally, I know that I've made mistakes in my life (although none too serious). I would not want that each of these results stay online forever. This is however something you'll have to deal with nowadays.

      Still, I would like that public institutions would think twice before (re-)publishing stories with names in them. Especially when it is with publications that are not easily verified such as student papers, where the articles have not been written by trained individuals. It might be that even the authors may have problems with that; even though the articles may provide a nice insight in the institution, the writers themselves probably weren't writing articles for the whole world to view. That law student that made a prank article about canabis probably did not want the whole world to browse his comments now that he/she is a full grown judge.

      Removing the indexing does seem to be a nice middle ground. And we should train the current students (including those in lower classes) that anything you publish today will be become available forever. There's no such thing as a limited number of copies anymore. Some person will always scan something and put it on the internet, now or later on.

      • Still, I would like that public institutions would think twice before (re-)publishing stories with names in them..

        So archived newspapers (including microfiche), court reports etc all have to be "redone" now. This is public information that was published publicly, there is no expectation that it would become private after some time.

        If our mistakes are serious enough to become a matter of public record... Then well its there for all to see.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Dogtanian (588974)

          This is public information that was published publicly, there is no expectation [my emphasis] that it would become private after some time.

          See, you talk about "expectation", but the Internet- or anything like it- wasn't on anyone's horizon in 1983 (I doubt that even the academics that used it knew it would be so important and all-pervasive 25 years later).

          What you say is technically correct, but doesn't account for how the Internet changed the implications of something being "public"- and *that* is what people would not have expected back then.

          At the time, reports would have appeared in newspapers and been prominent for a short while. They

          • Absolutely right.

            Didn't we used to dream of fame and fortune, "which of course were not to quit a DayJob for?"

            Now In InfoAmerica, you have fame which makes your DayJob Quit You(TM), and by the miracle of constant expenses vs. fickle revenue, destroys your fortune.

            $hit, another item for my project. (Rummages in personal library.)

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Dead_Past [wikipedia.org]
            Adapting from Page260 of The Edge Of Tomorrow anthology:
            ~"For the newspapers to publish these archives would have meant that everyone's past

      • by reddburn (1109121)

        I agree - an accidental Google search can reveal some startling things that - a decade ago, before the mass digitization of the world had started to really archive stuff - would have no longer mattered. The problem is that instead of viewing information gleaned from mediated sources with a judicious, reasoned eye, we've become accustomed to playing "Gotcha!" -- even on those who are themselves ultimately inconsequential.

        To anyone so very concerned about a loss of social status based upon decades-old infomat

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 24, 2009 @05:47AM (#28073483)
      Thanks for the advice, Mr. Perfect. Unfortunately, that superficially perfect suggestion is actually rather stupid.

      Young people need to be able to do stupid things within a context of safety and forgetting in order to learn about themselves and the world. If someone's every action will be on record for the rest of their life, then they will feel unnecessary pressure to stay neatly within the lines and remain naive and unworldly for fear of the consequences. It would stifle their creativity, their adventurousness, and consequently their outlook on the world and everything affected by that.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        I'm not so sure that burglary should be mandatory behaviour for students. I'm pretty sure that most people know that burglary is a stupid thing to do, and are aware of the consequences.

        Besides, the relatively harmless (in the long term) stupid stuff isn't exactly newsworthy. It's only if you do something really stupid that you get such mental anguish causing and reputation destroying stories in the newspaper.

        • I'm not so sure that burglary should be mandatory behaviour for students. I'm pretty sure that most people know that burglary is a stupid thing to do, and are aware of the consequences.

          Ignore burglary for a moment. Consider underage drinking. Often this is included in police announcements to newspapers. But, they are underage, so you won't get their names right? Well thanks to being in the USA, underage includes people ages 18-20, so you can be charged as an adult, for committing an underage crime, an

      • by Krneki (1192201)
        And don't forget all the revolutions.
        If all the humans were to be recorded and punished for every criminal action they make we would still live in a feudal environment. In order to progress we have to make mistakes and hopefully learn from them.
        • by Dogtanian (588974)

          And don't forget all the revolutions.

          If all the humans were to be recorded and punished for every criminal action they make we would still live in a feudal environment. In order to progress we have to make mistakes and hopefully learn from them.

          Of course, if the majority of people were living under a system of law that punished them in such a way- effectively permanently oppressing them- they'd have little to lose by supporting the overturn of the regime that supported it, making revolution *more* likely.

      • by hitmark (640295)

        The record is only a issue because the existing adults makes use of said record to judge a person before they learn to know that person and see if said person have learned anything from those past experiences.

        Hell, its not only the past record of the person itself that's sometimes used, but also parents and gand-parents (or even further). This may become so heavy a weight, that the person will change surname and move away rather then face the weight. All this because we humans seems to assume we know a pers

      • > Young people need to be able to do stupid things
        > within a context of safety and forgetting in order to
        > learn about themselves and the world.

        I have problem with this statement: which stupid things and what context of safety?

        This was a burglary. What about rape? What about felonious assault resulting in permanent damage? What about repeated drunk driving convictions?

        Some parents have let underage kids drink at home becuase it's "safer". Sometimes that has backfired, resulting in fatalities. What

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You may notice that it only said that he was *charged* with burglary. Not convicted of it.

      Perhaps the problem is that not many people understand the difference? I know I'd be upset if I was falsely accused of some crime and the accusation (but not the exoneration) was easy to find on Google...

      Mind you, I don't know this guy. Maybe he was convicted. I'm just trying to point out that it might not be as cut & dried as it seems. I mean, even the article summary only repeats the accusation and doesn't t

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        If you follow the links you'll see the guy is a lawyer, so he must be guilty.
    • Or have a really, really funny story to tell about it.
    • You're Awesome. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by reddburn (1109121) <redburn1NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Sunday May 24, 2009 @06:43AM (#28073691)

      Don't want your stupid college actions preserved forever? Don't do stupid things!

      Thanks for your "insightful" words (great job, mods)! I'll be sure to relay that information to myself as a 19 year old the next time I'm twelve years in the past.

    • by Krneki (1192201)
      What do you remember better from you past, the good actions or the stupid ones? I still lough my ass off every time, together with my old friend, we remember the crazy stuff we did.
      We are humans, we aren't perfect and to develop a creative mind you have to explore. If you want a perfect human just get yourself a drone.
    • Don't want your stupid college actions preserved forever? Don't do stupid things!

      How is being accused of theft something you do? It's something someone else does to you.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So you can judge what this is all about for yourselves:

    The offending issue of the Cornell Chronicle [cornell.edu]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Hint: "Blotter Barton"

      They did actually find $474 worth (in 1983 dollars) of stolen goods from him.

      Lessons to be learned:
      1. Don't do +10 burglaries and get caught if you don't wanna get in the news.
      2. Don't sue the paper for libel, when you actually did the crime, to get the information censored. It will have the opposite effect, moron!

    • So who would get the job.

      Department of Public Safety officials have charged Kevin G. Vanginderen of 603 Winston Court Apartments with third degree burglary in connection with 10 incidents of petit larceny and five burglaires on campus over a period of a year. Safety reported recovering some $474 worth of stolen goods from him....

      Or the guys with the cool plane on the front cover.

  • Google indexes everything, its just you dont get to see the results.
    The noindex meta tag could really be called "the noshowresults meta tag"
    Customers get to see all the web, consumers dont. So yes all the fun you had back in the 1970's 80's will come back to haunt you, if your boss pays for a real search.
    Google could also select to remove all or some works too.
    • How do I use this "super search" service, and how much does it cost?

    • Google indexes everything, its just you dont get to see the results. The noindex meta tag could really be called "the noshowresults meta tag" Customers get to see all the web, consumers dont. So yes all the fun you had back in the 1970's 80's will come back to haunt you, if your boss pays for a real search.

      Are you saying that Google will make available "noindex"-excluded information if people pay for a search?

      [citation needed]

      And I'd like to hear about the legal implications of retaining and showing information that the owner has specifically and explicitly requested not be indexed via a widely-accepted mechanism that Google themselves use.

  • by Maximum Prophet (716608) on Sunday May 24, 2009 @06:45AM (#28073705)
    In some Native American cultures, you have one name before you are an adult, and another after.

    Name your kid "John Smith" while in College, and legally change his name to something unique right before graduation.
    • by Krneki (1192201)
      Lol, you are a genius.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by RobotRunAmok (595286)

      If I got to choose, I would like my Indian name to be "Runs With Scissors"

    • Would that I had points to mod this insightful.

      If static identity becomes an issue to us culturally, I can guarantee that we'll move to more fluid forms before long. That there are historical precedents just makes it more inevitable.

    • In some Native American cultures, you have one name before you are an adult, and another after.

      Name your kid "John Smith" while in College, and legally change his name to something unique right before graduation.

      Like "The Doctor"? :)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by that IT girl (864406)
      We laugh at the idea of the legal name being changed, but really, the idea behind that is good. People do make stupid decisions when they are young, and when they mature, folks often claim to be "totally different people". Obviously, this would not apply to serious offenses like burglary, sex crimes, assault with a weapon, etc etc. But if it's nothing severe (as with most people--an embarrassing drunk photo or two, a fight you got into ONCE where nobody was seriously injured, etc) then it should be allowed
      • by Morkano (786068)

        Except all it takes is one page that links previous names to new names, and the cat is back out of the bag again.

        We as a society will be better off if we just learn to accept that people do stupid things when they are young, and not worry about it. Everyone does. I think it's rather unhealthy to deny it. Everyone turns into a hypocrite.

        • Good point. But we aren't maturing as a society right now... if anything, we are going the opposite direction. This would be ideal, though, because you're right--99% of the folks pointing accusing fingers at someone for a trivial offense knows good and well they have a similar story in their own past, or *something* they aren't proud of. Even without a huge incident that stands out, I wouldn't want to be judged now based on the person I was when I was 16 or 18.
  • What's the problem? Does anyone really think he es the only one who really had fun, and did some stupid things when he was young? Guess what: The guy that's offering you a job, probably had a more crazy youth than you. If someone is really searching in your past for shit to dig up, you're not the ass. HE is! Do you really want to have to do with such an ass?

    Have some self-esteem, self-confidence, and stand by yourself. You drank. You maybe smoked some stuff. You maybe had sex with X. You maybe stole somethi

  • by Coeurderoy (717228) on Sunday May 24, 2009 @07:17AM (#28073865)

    At least there is some consolation in the fact that having done something stupid in your past, will drive away the idiots...
    At least the ones who believe that you couldn't possibly evolve, and that what you did at 18 defines what you'll be able to do at 30 away.

    Of course it does help if you also did a couple of interesting stuff in the interim....

  • How is this different from the general issue of data retention across any internet connected source?

    e.g. say you did prank X in uni and it got reported by the normal paper. Said paper article can be found in google. What's the difference between that and the campus news? Why should the campus news be 'expunged' from the record just because its a campus news not 'normal' news?

  • not a prank, a CRIME (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dltaylor (7510) on Sunday May 24, 2009 @07:41AM (#28073979)

    We're not talking about mooning the dean of students, or something "fun", if silly/stupid.

    The guy was arrested for burglary. It is necessary for him to respond, for the rest of his life, in every job/dating/whatever situation to "what happened?". If the charges were unfounded, then a copy of the record should take care of it. If not, then he should have to explain how his head was so messed up that he could put his victim(s) through the hassle of dealing with their missing stuff, and how, if at all, it is different now, such that he is fit for whatever situation in which the question comes up.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Stiletto (12066)

      The guy was arrested for burglary. It is necessary for him to respond, for the rest of his life, in every job/dating/whatever situation to "what happened?".

      Actually, no. Assuming he did his time and repaid his debt to society, he shouldn't be punished for a crime for the rest of his life.

      If you really believe that one should have to answer for a crime (and, presumably, be denied employment/housing/etc. because of it) for the rest of one's life, then why not just institute life sentences for every little cr

      • by JoshuaZ (1134087)
        You are creating an extreme strawman argument. The point is if you did something illegal you should still answer for it. That is, you should be ready to explain to potential employers "here's what happened. Here's why I know it was stupid. Here's why you can trust despite said stupid behavior." Comparing having to do that at every interview is not at all the same as giving someone a "life sentence."
        • by Stiletto (12066)

          Comparing having to do that at every interview is not at all the same as giving someone a "life sentence."

          From the employer's point of view, merely having to ask that question is an easy way to disqualify someone when there are 200 other applicants for that job that you don't have to ask that question to.

          That's why it's quite like a life sentence. If I had it my way, private citizens (and corporations) could not even find out one's past crimes if one completed fulfilling his debt to society.

      • If you really believe that one should have to answer for a crime (and, presumably, be denied employment/housing/etc. because of it) for the rest of one's life, then why not just institute life sentences for every little crime?

        If someone was convicted of embezzlement, I do not think it reasonable that they be hired to handle an organization's money unless they can convince the hiring manager that it won't happen again, even after they have served their jail sentence.

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Sunday May 24, 2009 @08:22AM (#28074213) Journal

    Personally, I don't even think that they should use the "noindex" tag, either.

    Perhaps at some point, someone will get it through their thick skulls that choices often have consequences, and these consequences can come back to bite you in the ass years, even decades later.

    Every generation has its wild years, but I believe it really became institutionalized with the Baby Boomers, who ran rampant through the 60's and (largely) would like the rest of us to forget that ever happened. From the relatively trivial use of minor drugs, to trying to murder police officers (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathleen_Soliah) - one cannot escape the consequences of their decisions.

    It seems that today our entire culture wants the government system to warp into a giant "fix my situation" agency, meant to redress the grievances of individuals' pasts - even if self-inflicted. Like to have multiple piercings, tattoos, and wear purple hair? Don't be shocked if the investment bank that had the awesome paying job that you were perfectly qualified for decides to balk once they meet you. If you live below sea level in some crappy tenement, perhaps you should pay EXTRA attention to hurricane warnings looming over your city? If you decide to party your high school years away, and pop out babies while you're a teen - surprise! Odds are that the REST OF YOUR LIFE WILL SUCK (and odds are good that your babies' lives will suck TOO - congratulations, you've managed to ruin more lives than just your own!). Are you poor? Odds are likely that you dropped out of school, are a drug/substance abuser, or made some other shitty life choice that you're paying for now.

    I know it's very passe and old fashioned to suggest anything but the modern vogue of heedless narcissism, but there's a REASON our formerly-successful culture praised hard work, self-restraint, delayed gratification, and self-reliance: because these qualities, instilled early, are key indicators toward a LIFETIME of moderate comfort and security. No, that might not mean that you get to have all the fun you want, fucking/smoking/partying your way through your teens and twenties. But if you don't want to spend the NEXT 40 years of your life digging ditches, cleaning drains, or working the fry baskets at McDonald's, you *might* just want to take the long view, champ.

    • Personal responsibility is so last century.

    • I'm 20. And by God I wish I could mod you up.

  • The standards at college newspapers are not always as stringent as those at major market newspapers. Thinking about the one at my alma mater, it did not employ an ombudsman, rarely fact-checked articles and didn't use tape recorders at interviews. I can think of three situations during my four years where it libeled a student or member of the administration. However, being a small paper with limited circulation and footprint, not much was done about it. Ditto, that matter, for an alternative weekly which ac
  • As with politics, it is the cover-up that does the real damage. That said, the real issue here is that the school papers in question are in effect republishing these articles many years later. Did it occur to them to even hold a staff meeting on the ethics of - in effect - posting billboards full of stale information about individuals no longer associated with their institution?

    In the past it was easier to find information in recent newspapers than in the back issues. Now it is often easier to find infor

  • (Except with respect to your right to purchase alcohol -- a law is flagrant age discrimination.)

    Kids get their records expunged. Adults don't. If you do it, live with it. If you can't live with it, get yourself declared incompetent on grounds of mental defect and live in a secure mental facility; you don't belong in society.

    Being young is not a license to do any damn fool thing you like.

    • Even if it's not a matter of a criminal record, things that end up on the internet stand good chance of becoming its own permanent record. My message to kids these days: Don't do anything you don't want (or can't live with) preserved on the internet for eternity.

  • 'I thought that would be better than kind of like sticking it to [the alum] and saying the paper is always right and we can publish anything on the Web we want,' says the paper's editor."

    Now that's embarrassing. You'd think the editor of a college paper would have some command of the language.

  • If you don't want to be *judged* by society/employers etc. for activities like your stupid boozing and burglary, then don't *do* those activities. Simple. If you are actually doing those activities, then you *should* be judged accordingly - man up and take responsibility for how you behaved. There is no magic "hey but I was young so it doesn't count" - when I was young I had self-control because I understood that my actions had repercussions for my future, and those are also the type of people I'd also now

  • The service these college paper archives are providing is a gift to society! We very much need to hold people accountable for their actions, and these things must be easily searchable! Especially for job candidates and other things, employers need to know exactly what kind of person they are employing...and while I am a firm believer in people's ability to grow and change, one cannot run away from one's past! Far, far too many students do entirely idiotic things in college, and then proceed to have well-p

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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