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The Blue & Gray Press | December 16, 2017

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Staff Editorial: The Bullet Apologizes for Seacobeck Error

Last week, the Bullet incorrectly reported in a front-page headline that the Mary Washington Board of Visitors had voted to demolish Seacobeck Hall. In fact, President Rick Hurley had merely decided to pull Seacobeck from the Master Plan and form a committee of students, faculty and preservation experts to recommend a plan of action regarding the future of the dining facility to the BOV.

This regrettable error, which was not the fault of any single person but rather the result of oversights on the part of several editors, did an enormous amount of damage to the school administration’s attempts to engage the UMW community regarding the Master Plan and the future of the university.

We would like to offer a sincere apology to the BOV, President Hurley and any other member of the UMW community who trusted the Bullet to report the news accurately, particularly on an issue as sensitive to our readership as the proposed renovation of our university’s historic buildings.

Although we corrected the story immediately on our website, and Hurley sent out a campus-wide e-mail alerting students and faculty to the error, the damage was already done, clearly visible on newsstands all over campus.

To some degree, mistakes are an inevitable consequence of any kind of journalism, whether it’s produced by professionals or students, but to commit one of this magnitude is inexcusable and not representative at all of the standards that we hold ourselves to at the Bullet.

The exchange of accurate, reliable information is a necessary component for dialogue between the administration and the UMW community, and when we fail to meet that standard of accuracy, we fail the community that we serve.

We want to assure our readership, which has come to expect better from the Bullet, that we are only going to strive harder in the future to ensure that this kind of mistake does not happen again.