I’m not sure I’ve ever been as disappointed in my edu-network as I have been in the last 48 hours.
I watched as a blog post written by a young woman went viral. She detailed events as she remembered them, and they were hard to read.
I watched as my friends and people I admire reposted and retweeted this blog post. They shared it with horrified comments and mutual disgust.
Out of all those friends who shared the viral post, ONE thought to consider and comment about the fact that we were reading only one side of the story.
We read stories about victims, and we want to immediately support them.
I get that.
We absolutely should support victims and then try to do what we can to change the culture around us.
However, we need to be certain we don’t create additional victims in doing so. And that’s exactly what I saw happening today.
There’s a reason we don’t try cases in the “court of public opinion.” Mob mentality rarely looks at facts or the reasons for due process.
When due process is ignored, we open the door to persecute those who have been falsely accused. Some of them never recover. Additionally, that often leads to more victims being ignored or treated as if they are not truthful.
I’m involved in this particular situation, because I was a witness to the events of one of those accounts in the viral post. My recollection of those facts are different from what was written. I’m not going to discuss any of those things here, because I have already done so by phone with the parties involved. I have supported people on both “sides” of this situation, and I will continue to do so.
Do I want to change the culture around me to make it a better, safer, more supportive place? Yes.
I will not push my agenda, however, at the expense of any person’s reputation, no matter what I THINK might have happened. Instead of raising awareness about a bigger cultural issue, this has become a “witch hunt.”
If you do not personally know the facts about events that took place, who are you to make a judgment about another person’s character? And what are the implications on people’s lives if what you think happened did NOT happen?
I have watched as people have assailed the character of the young woman in this situation.
I have watched as people have assailed the character of one of the men she has implicated.
NONE of you making these judgment calls were there, yet you’re calling for people to ban the accused from attending conferences. Calling for people to unfollow them and un-invite them from any future conferences. Demanding or acting entitled to details and explanations that should have been handled privately in the first place.
How about we take off our judging hats, listen more, and ask what would be the best course of action for the future?
There are REAL lives that will be affected now. How did YOUR actions in the last 48 hours hurt the people involved? (ALL of the people, not just the one you choose to support.)
Every person involved in this situation is someone’s child.
Did you stop to think that this was someone’s son or daughter? Did you consider that maybe there were other loved ones who are now impacted by your actions as well?
Or did you not consider that before pressing the retweet or share button?
I teach my students to think critically before the share anything publicly. So do many of you.
I saw some people learn the hard way today that they can’t really take back what they have posted or shared.
Now, the question is, how will they make amends for the damage they have done?
How will you change your future actions in deciding what you share and how you share?