Contrary to what you may have heard lately, students attending Plattsburgh State are not in imminent danger.
A recent ranking released by FindTheBest of the “25 Most Dangerous Colleges” placed — you guessed it — PSUC at the top of the list.
After an explosion of social media attention was given to the list, it turns out this list was composed based on numerous factual errors on the part of the site. An updated list posted this week, however, doesn’t contain PSUC anywhere on it.
So what gives?
Apparently, according to an article written by Ashleigh Livingston in the Press-Republican, a number of strange decisions were made in the analysis of the data received by FindTheBest. For example, “… offenses, such as open-container violations, were given the same weight as crimes such as murders …,” according to University Police Chief Arlene Sabo.
Another error involved the entire year of 2012. FindTheBest had based its analysis off of 195 incidents when there were, in fact, only 125 for the year.
How a publication, even one that isn’t particularly noteworthy, can defend its actions with such blatantly poor fact-checking is beyond comprehension.
Yes, the organization owned up to its mistakes and has provided a new, supposedly accurate list.
But the damage has already been done, hasn’t it? It’s circulated throughout Facebook, Twitter and every social media site you can think of. In the age of new media, Cardinal Points has no doubt that plenty of high school students and their parents have seen the list.
And young people are impressionable. Who’s to say that those students haven’t written off our school entirely, just based off the list? It doesn’t matter that the original list has been retracted. It’s the Internet — it’s out there.
So, now our school gets to scramble to cover all its bases and inform the public that our campus isn’t actively trying to harm its students.
Is that fair? Absolutely not, and the schools who were incorrectly labeled as dangerous have every right to pursue litigation against this publication.
As a fellow institution of public record, we at Cardinal Points take our jobs seriously. We work hard every week to ensure we are getting accurate information out to the campus community.
Of course, we do run a corrections box with each issue to acknowledge our mistakes, but we do a good job at limiting those errors to mostly inconsequential ones: A name misspelling, an incorrect date or time for an event, or giving someone the wrong title or position.
While we of course strive to provide a perfect publication, as students still learning and honing our craft, these small mistakes are bound to happen.
Anybody who saw this list and PSUC at No. 1 surely must’ve been surprised — Plattsburgh is safer than Colchester, Burlington, Winooski and St. Albans as of 2011, according to city-data.com, a website containing statistical information about cities across the U.S.
University Police and the Plattsburgh City Police both do a great job to ensure our campus and community remains as safe as it possibly can. We commend these officials for the effort they put into their jobs.
As for FindTheBest, however, maybe they should have put in this same effort while reporting their erroneous article.