Editorial | If you see something, at least say something anonymously

Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel investigation. The #MeToo movement. Edward Snowden. In the last few years, some of the country’s largest news story have started, or received influence from, whistleblowers coming forward to speak about injustices or wrongdoings.

It is The Daily Illini’s duty to be the watchdog for this campus community, but in reporting on important issues we often encounter people who are hesitant to help us or speak up for a variety of reasons.

From students to faculty, it’s sometimes obvious they are aware of wrongdoings by other staff members or students, but they are not willing to share that information.

The Daily Illini Editorial Board understands remaining silent regarding these situations may be to protect victims, especially when it comes to recent movements such as the #MeToo movement. In these situations, we urge people to respect the privacy of those who have already been hurt. Don’t cause unnecessary harm a second time.

There are also many instances where people are scared to be the whistleblower, maybe because they work for the University, or because they don’t want to deal with the trouble that might come with speaking out. But in those cases, whether you’re a student or a faculty member, ask yourselves: Where does your allegiance lie? At The Daily Illini, it lies with the 49,000 students and 17,500 total employees on campus who might get hurt if we allow those who are taking advantage of their positions of power to continue.

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As student journalists, we understand any reluctance to be included as a source — whether anonymous or not — in a breaking news story. Sometimes we make mistakes and sometimes misinformation is unintentionally published. However, these actions are never malicious or intentional. Every employee hired by The Daily Illini is taught to report the truth to our campus community. We would never purposely try to misrepresent a story.

As much as we want to serve and protect the campus by calling out those who’ve done the University wrong, we can’t always have eyes and ears everywhere. But speaking up doesn’t necessarily mean coming forward about these issues publicly; there are ways to give important information anonymously. Letters and emails to the editor-in-chief, anonymous tips ([email protected]) submitted to our office or sent online are just a few ways to get in contact with us.

We need your help. Change starts with all of us standing up for those who were wronged.