open letter: On the interview with jazmin maco

We, Jazmin Maco, Courtney DeVita, India Halsted, and Co-Presidents, Maya Hertz and Nico Lopez-Alegria, met to collectively craft this statement.

Dear Liberty,

It was with great sadness that we saw your post this morning, highlighting an interview posted to our website plagiarizing your work. We recognize that, due to lack of diligence in our editing process, we published four highly specific questions that you asked in an interview with Jazmin Maco almost word for word without crediting you. We want to offer some details about what occurred to demonstrate that this was not deliberate, and that we are committed to creating a platform that upholds the voices of student creatives on this campus.

We would like to clarify that Courtney DeVita never saw nor was given access to your interview with Jazmin, and that she did not in any way intentionally seek to plagiarize the work of another writer.

Usually, Ratrock publishes edited transcriptions of recorded face-to-face interviews. But background noise in Jazmin’s original interview made it unusable, so Courtney shared her interview questions with Jazmin over email, and Jazmin sent back her typed responses. Jazmin felt that parts of her original interview with you were particularly relevant to her work and decided to include your questions in her response. Believing they were Jazmin's words, Courtney unknowingly sent Ratrock an interview that included your wording.

I, Jazmin, deeply regret incorporating your questions in my response to Courtney without asking your permission to use your work. I understand and appreciate the work that you put into our interview, and I recognize the pain you felt seeing that work credited to another interviewer. I also regret not explicitly informing Courtney that the questions were from your article. Through my actions were born out of a desire to see myself holistically represented in my interview, I recognize that this does not negate the harm that I caused.

I, India, apologize and seek to learn from reading your statement, Liberty. As a writer and an editor, I believe that every writer deserves to get credit for their original work. We, India and Courtney, would never deliberately try to take and use another writer’s work without their permission.

We, Ratrock, apologize for neglecting to cross-check Courtney’s interview with your work to make sure they did not overlap. Ratrock will strive to be more thorough in its editing process to ensure a mistake like this one is not made in the future. The interview will be taken down following this acknowledgement. We want to emphasize that Ratrock had no intent of plagiarizing your work. Nonetheless, we take responsibility for the plagiarism we published. As a publication, we aim to feature the voices of student creatives, and in this spirit, we regret not giving credit to your voice and hard work.

We love and appreciate all the writers and creatives who contribute to the mission of Ratrock, we are grateful for each of their voices, and will always properly attribute and accredit their work moving forward.