Almost two weeks after Amber Guyger, former Dallas Police officer and UTA alumna, was sentenced for the murder of Botham Jean in his apartment, another UTA alumnus was charged with murder — again for the fatal shooting of someone in their own home.
Aaron Dean, 2011 physics graduate and former Fort Worth Police officer, was charged with murder after fatally shooting Fort Worth resident Atatiana Jefferson in her home Oct. 12.
These two cases have received national coverage and public discussion behind the motives, implications and community impact they left behind. At the same time, some readers questioned The Shorthorn’s use of the word alumna to describe Guyger — who only attended UTA from fall 2012 to spring 2013 — as well as the decision to cover either case at all.
In an effort for transparency and clarity, The Shorthorn editorial board voted to write this explanation of the process and reasoning behind our coverage of these cases.
According to Merriam-Webster, AP Style and The Shorthorn’s internal style guide, “alumni, alumnus and alumna” refer to anyone who attended an institution, whether they graduated or not. The Shorthorn chose to describe Guyger as an alumna based on this definition and decided to include a paragraph in each story describing the specific times she attended to avoid any confusion or misinformation.
The student-run newspaper’s role is to provide facts, not interpret them.
Because these two police officers attended UTA and because their actions impacted the Metroplex, we decided that their cases warranted coverage.
Adding to the dozens of publications that covered the events over the last few weeks, The Shorthorn staff wrote articles geared for our audience of UTA students, staff, faculty and alumni.
We cover the good and the bad. In past articles, The Shorthorn also described Gov. Greg Abbott, who attended UTA from 1976 to 1978 before transferring to UT-Austin, as an alumnus. The university itself honored Abbott as a distinguished alumnus.
Guyger was born and raised in Arlington. She took classes alongside other UTA students, staff and faculty for about a year. Dean graduated in 2011 with thousands of other UTA alumni.
This coverage is important because of the lives that were lost and the ramifications those losses had in the community.
We should not ignore these events or disregard the fact that these two people were a part of the UTA community. Some readers said our coverage would somehow devalue a degree from UTA or tarnish the perception of a UTA graduate because of the actions of these two individuals.
It’s not about painting UTA in a good or in a bad light but providing a neutral presentation of facts.
The Shorthorn Editorial Board is made up of opinion editor Jacob Reyes; Editor-in-Chief Reese Oxner; associate news editor Rocio Hernandez; multimedia editor Anna Geyer; Amanda Padilla, life and entertainment editor; news reporter David Silva and copy editor Andrew Walter.