Restaurant industry sex-assault problems

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion I have been working the last 15 years to increase awareness about domestic and sexual violence, sexual harassment, sex trafficking and getting more men involved in the struggle to end these problems. Part of that effort has been as a community member on the Schenectady Domestic Violence Task Force and the Community Sexual Assault Response Team.I was approached by a young woman who had been assaulted at her restaurant job. Her police complaint wasn’t prosecuted by the DA due to an error on dates. As a response, some additional training has been developed to hopefully avoid similar problems in the future.The woman was also threatened by her assailant for going to the police. She and her roommate fled their apartment in Schenectady as it was in the same building as the restaurant and they felt very unsafe. After living in their car for several days, they found shelter in another city. Recent articles in The New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Sacramento Bee as well as numerous magazines point out the high rate of harassment, gropings and assaults faced by female restaurant workers. Nearly 40 percent of sexual harassment complaints to the Federal EEOC come from females in the restaurant industry.My friend’s experience may have been unusual for Schenectady — but maybe not. It seems timely for Schenectady to do some preventative investigation into these kind of situations. I urge the county Legislature and the city council to look into the matter, and to empower or direct the Schenectady Human Rights Commission to hold hearings.Other cities are doing this, we can as well.ED GUIDERBallston LakeThe writer is a member of Schenectady Stand Up Guys.More from The Daily Gazette:Guilderland girls’ soccer team hands BH-BL first league lossEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homeslast_img read more

Guest Column: Student journalists fight for light

first_imgCategories: Editorial, OpinionFor The Daily GazetteAccess to information and public records is crucial in order for student journalists to serve the public and share information that may otherwise not be accessible for professional journalists in the field. Student journalists learn by going out and reporting in the field. We try to practice the same professional strategies the professionals use.When we use the Freedom of Information Law, we too are pulling back the dark curtain that sometimes shields information from the public.In training to produce professional journalism, students are sent to gather information by interviewing government officials and using the Freedom of Information Law to acquire public records about various subjects. When we make efforts to collect information for stories, government officials sometimes don’t offer us the same courtesies they do to professional journalists. Members of the city Common Council have asked students to contact them after a meeting through email, text, or social media rather than staying for an interview because they’re rushing to go home. These stories are treated as breaking news events to prepare us for the real world. We compete with local news organizations to scoop news and features. Sources tend to categorize student journalists as unprofessional, untrained, or unsure of what we are doing in the field. This mindset contributes to sources often stalling our efforts to get to the truth.Transparency between sources and the reporter is important for various reasons.One reason is that it builds rapport for the source to share intimate stories for which to connect with the readers. To get to these stories, student journalists interview people multiple times to gain an understanding of who the person is. We are trained to conduct interviews with a central focus and ask many questions, but most of all, listen to our subjects. Students conduct intense research prior to their interviews. However, our path to reporting stories is often thwarted before the research or interview has begun. Student journalists provide a public service to their communities when writing about neighborhood issues.When elected officials are transparent and forthright with student journalists, they’re demonstrating the behaviors that landed them in office. According to the Open Meetings Law, minutes and agendas are to be available to the public one week after the executive session.When representatives of local governments obstruct access to information or resist simple requests for public documents, they are violating the spirit of our open records laws.Students reporters impact the local media.Last month, an Alabama newspaper printed an editorial calling for the return of the KKK, and that event became national news. How? Student journalists took a photo of the editorial and away it went.We regularly use Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) requests to obtain records from government outlets ranging from the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to the city’s fire department reports. Document-based journalism is something we are taught from day one. It’s the toughest kind of reporting, but the results and effects of the final publication are rewarding, and it can lead to real change.When a government agency like the Corrections Department makes information available online, student journalists and the public benefit from access to that information.When reporters at Saint Rose updated a story about a hit-and-run crash involving a student who died, access to the state’s database enabled those students to update the story for their community of readers.No other local news outlets reported that fact.That’s why Freedom of Information and Open Meetings laws are so critical, as they allow not just journalists, but the public as well, to see what elected officials are doing, especially when it comes to spending taxpayer dollars.Seriah Sargenton is a senior at The College of Saint Rose in Albany studying communications with a minor in creative writing. She is the assistant editor of The Chronicle, the college newspaper. David Meister is a junior from East Greenbush studying broadcast journalism. He is the sports editor of The Chronicle and vice president of Saint Rose Television. Caroline Aurigemma is a senior studying communications at St. Rose. She is the copy editor and photography editor of The Chronicle and president of Saint Rose Radio Club. All are students in Dr. Cailin Brown’s advanced journalism class.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

Soros’ $600m investment push

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Frogmore next for Gresham St

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Hackney’s Structadene sale takes new twist

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Compco results put Helical and Quintain in the shade

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Eastbourne, Hailsham & Uckfield industrial: Record high for rental levels

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Offices: Will they or won’t they?

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Battle rages over green belt building

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Rental health

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