Now is not the time for conspiracy theories

11/08/2018

By Duke Staff

Just a few short weeks ago, we used this space to address Pittsburgh media and ask that they cover the death of Marquis Jaylen “JB” Brown with tact and courtesy. We wanted to put a stop to wild, irresponsible speculation and conspiracy-weaving that was making the rounds. Now, with over 70 Duquesne students attending a protest about Brown’s death, it is time to make the same plea to our student body.

The “walk-out” protest on Nov. 5 was organized to demand “full transparency, a surplus of grief counseling for friends and teammates of Brown and that the university should host a forum addressing the incident and discussing what the steps going forward are to prevent tragedies of this nature,” according to the protest’s main speaker Bella Guzzi.

However, that premise involves a huge misconception: Duquesne isn’t leading the police investigation; the Pittsburgh Police are. Duquesne administration officials know as much about what happened as anyone else on campus. When there is an active investigation, police rarely make any kind of public statement or provide updates. They don’t return evidence they collected from the crime scene, such as Brown’s clothing and phone. The toxicology report, which often takes six to eight weeks to be conducted, is not public record and will not be shared unless the police decide it should be.

Police investigations are detailed procedures and often take a long time. It may be quite a while before anything definitive is known. Until then, it is unhelpful to continue to act as if a massive web of conspiracy is taking place to silence the truth. It’s just too early to tell.

What the real focus of these efforts should be is to provide more resources for grief counseling. This is a worthy and noble cause. Students shouldn’t have to wait possibly months to meet with a counselor in an understaffed, underfunded office in the aftermath of two local tragedies. We definitely agree with that position, more should be done.

However, this noble cause is drowned out when paired with the other demands. We recognize this is a hard and confusing time for the student body, but asking university officials for information they do not have is unproductive. So is depicting them as being uncooperative with Brown’s grieving mother, who, as some at the protest pointed out, is the only person involved who truly needs to know what led her son to his death that evening.

Misplaced anger and distrust often lead to only negative outcomes. When more information is made available, we hope to be the ones to share it with all of you. Until then, patience.

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