This week I came across an article from local news channel, Fox 4, that roused my interest. The article was written by Julian Glover and entitled “Does FGCU Have a Drinking Problem?”
Glover’s initial argument he uses to paint FGCU as a school going downhill due to alcohol was the recent death of 19-year-old Austin Vonckx. Glover addresses that the police report stated that Vonckx was “possibly intoxicated.”
Glover’s argument concerning the possible intoxication of the student ,however, was based on pure speculation. In fact, the cause of death came out just three days after Glover’s article was printed and, according to the Naples Daily News, showed that Vonckx’s death was not alcohol-related at all and was due to a medical anomaly that doctors are calling a pulmonary edema,
If Glover had waited for the autopsy report to come out before making such rash and tasteless accusations, maybe he would have written a more credible story.
Glover also goes on to address FGCU’s 839 disciplinary actions concerning alcohol infractions and uses the example “like underage drinking.” However, Glover fails to acknowledge the strict rules in place regarding the posession of alcohol at certain events, such as FGCU basketball games.
An alcohol infraction can be anything from a minor in possession to a student of age having a glass of wine while having dinner in certain dorms. I have witnessed cases where students were written up for having a cooler in the bed of their truck containing unopened alcohol they planned to bring to an event off campus.
I highly doubt that all 839 alcohol infractions last year were a result of FGCU having a drinking problem and I most certainly do not believe it to be an accurate reflection of the student body.
Unless Glover went back and researched all 839 infractions and the students who committed them, interviewed each student and assessed their drinking history, he has no concrete proof of there being a correlation of these 839 infractions to students having a drinking problem on campus.
All facts aside, I found Glover’s article to be morally wrong and an injustice not only to his audience but also to the family of Vonckx. Glover manipulated a recent tragedy in order to portray FGCU as something it is not.
He based his arguments off of pure speculation and accredited it to statistics he did not fully research or back up. He makes his main argument based on a possibility. Last time I checked, the word “possible” does not describe something as definite, and as a learning journalist I find it unwise and misleading to base an entire article off of speculation.
Aside from being a journalist, reporters have a moral responsibility as human beings to respect the family of Vonckx. By using his death as an arguing point, Glover drew attention away from the devastating truth that a mother lost her child. She and the rest of Vonckx’s family and friends are now suffering due to reports such as Glover’s painting the student’s death in a light that is just untrue.
My heart goes out to the family and friends of Austin Vonckx, and I promise that the truth is not going unheard here on campus.