Torch Voices: Student House Padlocked


Each week the staff of Big Rapids’ daily newspaper, the Pioneer, looks forward to reading the latest edition of the Torch. We have been very impressed with the work of this year’s staff.

Having stated that, a story that appeared on the front page of the March 24 edition was a cause for concern. I understand why the reporter, and the Torch, might choose to take a more sympathetic view of the recent padlock decision by the Big Rapids City Commission (“Student house padlocked”). In doing so, however, the reporter allowed student Brandon Archambault to mischaracterize the Pioneer’s coverage and libel one of our reporters.

Your reporter wrote, “… (Archambault) has spoken openly regarding his remorse toward the situation.” The reporter then allows Archambault to assert that “quotes from his Facebook page were taken out of context by the Pioneer” in a story we published on March 17.

I take issue with both of those statements.

First, when Archambault was being chastised by city commissioners was he showing remorse? He seems sorry he is being punished and he is clearly unhappy about having to go through this process. After numerous warnings from police — Archambault and roommates hosted a Battle of the Bands in a residential neighborhood and set off fireworks during a party– he and the other tenants at 120 Locust St. continued to host loud parties.

I would contend that remorse for continuously doing something you know is wrong to people around you and Archambault feeling sorry for himself are two very different things. In fact, Archambault seems too eager to portray himself the victim in this situation to be a contrite offender.

Second, the statement made by him on his Facebook page was published verbatim in the Pioneer. I made sure of that myself. What is inaccurate is his claim that his words were somehow manipulated by our reporter. I would invite you to compare the Pioneer story with the comments he made, but Archambault quickly removed the comments from his Facebook page shortly after he became aware of our story.

In short, Mr. Archambault lied to your reporter to try to, again, make himself look like the victim.

The “context” of his comment was very clear: After numerous warnings from police and being dragged in front of the city commission he finally gets it — no loud parties. But it doesn’t matter that much to him because it’s almost the end of the year and next year he is moving into his frat house.

This is hardly the tone of someone speaking “openly regarding his remorse.” He sounds like a spoiled brat.

Please understand, the people who live and work in Big Rapids do not think that the bad behavior and lack of integrity displayed by Archambault is representative of Ferris students.

You volunteer in our schools. You shop in our stores. You read our newspaper. We love having you in our community.

Turning Mr. Archambault into a “victim” and ignoring the larger story surrounding why that house was padlocked is irresponsible.

While you give a platform to Archambault and Dr. Donald Roy — a professor who doesn’t live in the community but has the audacity to complain about the lack of “community” between the city and university! — you fail to give voice to legitimate student concerns or shed light on the many ways the university and Big Rapids work together every day to make this a better community for all of us.

Those are stories all of us would appreciate reading in future editions of the Torch.

Dave Clark, Editor In Chief

The Pioneer, Big Rapids