Being accused does not equal being guilty

Dear Editor,

I’m writing in response to Kevin Malay’s assumptions on the Michael Powell issue. I know that the U.S. Constitution has given people the right to speak, or in this case, write their opinions about anything they want. But what happens when that right is abused to the extent of attacking someone that has only been accused of a crime? Being accused doesn’t always translate to guilt.

Just look at Josh Blair’s article on April 20, “Powell not indicted on rape charge.” It states the grand jury decided not to indict Mr. Powell because they felt that he wasn’t capable with his physical stature. Now what does that mean? If you were to ask Malay for his biased opinion, he would still find a way to dehumanize Powell.

Before you get all upset Malay, I have proof to my claim. Just go back to your article on March 23, “Accused should face expulsion.” Malay says that, “A student charged with rape is a menace to society and ought to be expelled and put behind bars.” Why should Powell be considered a menace to society when he’s just been accused of a crime? Remember from the March 30 article, “Article accurate, justified.” Malay writes that a “young girl was allegedly raped,” not a young girl was raped. Mr. Malay, how can you so willingly call Powell a menace to society when you don’t even know if he raped this woman or not?

Another example comes from Malay’s article on April 6, “Students perceive false injustice.” You give the impression that “we all know, though, that being found not guilty doesn’t mean someone is innocent.” Let me ask you something: who gave you the right to come to a decision whether or not someone is guilty outside of court? I know that our justice system is not perfect. People that were guilty have walked, while people that were innocent have been given the chair or gas chamber. However, this does not give you the right to slander someone’s image because they’re accused.

Although Powell has not been indicted on the rape charge, his image has been deeply affected by just his association. Unfortunately, how can it not be? According to the article, Powell is still suspended from university housing. He will forever have that rape accusation hovering over his shoulder. When he goes looking for a career in the future, do you think that the rape charge will play a factor in whether or not he gets hired? In a perfect world that wouldn’t happen because he was acquitted of the charge. But in reality, employers may look at it and think “maybe” or “it’s possible.” That is the image that Michael Powell is going to have to live with for the rest of his life.

Nick Strub

Third-year student, accounting