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Increased diligence will help clarify future debates

On Monday, we ran an article “Marching on Blurred Lines,” in which a Post reporter followed Ohio University’s Marching 110 in the week before a home game at Peden Stadium.

It just so happened that by the end of that week, the “Most Exciting Band in the Land” didn’t play the song it had spent days practicing: “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke.

In the days following the article, our readers took to social media, blog posts and our own opinion page to weigh in on the issue.

I wholeheartedly support a vigorous debate about the issues of the day and welcomed the discourse that followed our article.

But some of the cut-and-dry conclusions that have been made might not be so clearly drawn.

The Post has its share of responsibility, however, and we made a number of mistakes.

Firstly, we neglected to give the full list of those who attended the meeting in which the decision to cut “Blurred Lines” was made. College of Fine Arts Dean Margaret Kennedy-Dygas, School of Music Director Christopher Hayes, Vice President for Student Affairs Ryan Lombardi and Marching 110 Director Richard Suk were at the meeting.

Second, as stated in a clarification published in Tuesday’s edition of The Post, the article misrepresented Lombardi’s involvement in the decision.

After the article ran, Lombardi told The Post he provided his understanding during the meeting, as head of Student Affairs, of how the song might be perceived given recent events on campus.

Lombardi made neither a directive nor a request of Suk, who corroborated that in an interview Monday.

Additionally, Lombardi was available by phone Sunday, but we did not call him to clarify his position and involvement after he provided The Post with a written statement. The Post regrets this egregious error.

But that does not mean Lombardi is without some responsibility for the results of that meeting, and Suk’s comments published in The Post remain: “I wouldn’t say they gave me a choice.”

What exactly transpired during that meeting Friday remains unclear, but Lombardi, Hayes and Kennedy-Dygas each had a responsibility to speak up if they disagreed with the way the meeting was going.

There should have been no request from administrators, as was stated in Monday’s editorial, which reflects the majority opinion of The Post’s top four editors. I stand by it.

It’s important to also remember that Suk is a tenured professor and, as such, is able to play nearly any song he and the 110 likes. Not even the university’s president could mandate cutting a controversial tune.

Regardless of how it occurred, what remains clear is that those who hold OU in high regard want to ensure its students are free to express themselves.

The Post supports that notion, and we will continue to pursue stories about issues of such vital importance.

But in the future, we will work even more diligently to ensure those reports are accurate and provide the full picture so the ensuing discussion does not get so, well, blurred.

Ryan Clark is the editor-in-chief of The Post. Email him at rc348710@ohiou.edu

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