- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 15, 2005

Some spirited prose justifying racial profiling cost a University of North Carolina student her job as a columnist for the campus newspaper.

Jillian Bandes, a junior at the Chapel Hill school, yesterday said she regrets her choice of words, but has not backed off her beliefs, expressed in a opinion column that ran Tuesday in the Daily Tar Heel.

“I want all Arabs to be stripped naked and cavity searched if they get within 100 yards of an airport,” wrote Miss Bandes, an international studies major.

“I want Arabs to get sexed up like nothing else,” she added later, playing on a quip once made by pundit Ann Coulter, who observed that “physical intimacy” was now common at airport checkpoints.

Racial profiling is a legitimate part of the security process, Miss Bandes reasoned in her column. She still feels that way.

“Yes, 100 percent,” she said yesterday. “But should I have written it differently? Yes. I showed disrespect towards honorable people in this community by writing in such a coarse manner.”

In her column, Miss Bandes did not mince words, noting she didn’t care if Arabs felt “their rights are being violated.” She also quoted two Arab students saying they agreed that “professional” racial profiling for the sake of safety was justified.

On Wednesday, Miss Bandes was let go by fellow student Chris Coletta, the paper’s opinion editor.

“I fired Jillian Bandes,” he noted in his own column yesterday. “And not because I thought she was a racist or an idiot. … I fired her because she strung together quotes out of context.”

Mr. Coletta also accused Miss Bandes of misleading her sources and committing “journalistic malpractice.” The sources felt “betrayed,” he wrote.

“There was no breach of journalistic integrity and standards,” Miss Bandes countered. “The malpractice idea has been thrown out of proportion and is now part of a public relations campaign.”

The university declined comment yesterday because “the Daily Tar Heel is independently run by students,” said spokesman Mike McFarland.

Student newspapers have been afforded a higher public profile in recent years by the Internet, along with concerns over First Amendment rights. Harvard University, for example, last year backed away from censoring “H Bomb,” a student publication which featured nudity and sexual content.

“This was a teachable moment. This writer used bits of direct quotes which were accurate, but out of a larger context,” said Jock Lauterer, who teaches community journalism and newswriting at the school.

Student newspapers are “laboratories in many ways,” he said, adding that his young charges must learn to distinguish between an editorial and a personal column and know the difference between journalist and commentator.

“Students see what happens when you cross the line. Many thought this student’s use of language was inappropriate,” Mr. Lauterer said. “Still, we all defend to the death her right to have her say, even if we agree to disagree.”


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