Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Website retracts claim Plattsburgh most dangerous

A report released by a company called FindTheBest listing the 25 most dangerous colleges in the nation with Plattsburgh State ranked No. 1. After mass confusion and speculation, the company has since issued a correction and apology for publishing the inaccurate results.

The original article, posted on Feb. 3 by the company’s editor Kiran Dhillion, included other SUNY schools such as Geneseo. Despite being ranked as the most dangerous college in the nation in the original report, PSUC was not ranked anywhere on the corrected report.

When PSUC administrators first encountered the list, their first course of action was “trying to figure out who to contact,” said PSUC Executive Director of Marketing and Communication Ken Knelly. Knelly sent a message via LinkedIn to Dhillion, as well as an email to the CEO of the company, Kevin O’Connor, informing them their facts were incorrect and misleading.

“We were very aggressive,” Knelly said.

The main problem with the report was a discrepancy in the way the number of on-campus crimes was recorded. Following the release of the original report, University Police provided the PSUC administration with the proper statistics, although they had no direct contact with FindTheBest.

“The issue for us was the number of crimes — that was not accurate,” Knelly said.

The next step for PSUC officials was to make sure the report was corrected, and the revised list was provided to other media outlets who had shared the skewed list. Emails were sent out to students and faculty, informing them the list had been revised. They then worked with FindTheBest to track down any other sources who had published the original list.

“The process of retraction was getting the site to take our name off, and contacting other media sites to have them remove it,” Knelly said.

Although the rankings have been corrected, it is hard to say how the original list, though short-lived, has impacted PSUC’s reputation. As far as legal action, Knelly said the college has no intention of pursuing any, noting he believes the report “won’t have any bearing” on admission rates.

“Intuitively people don’t think of this college as the most dangerous in the country. Campus safety matters to people — it matters to students, it matters to faculty and it matters to parents,” Knelly said.

In regards to the company’s apology and the new report they published, Knelly said the college will continue to move forward and put it behind them.

“They have apologized. We have moved on. The only thing I’ll say about the new list is the quality of this organizations’ previous work speaks for itself.”

Email Thomas Marble at thomas.marble@cardinalpointsonline.com

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