Regarding “First lady Michelle Obama ’85 has rebuffed invitations from Princeton administration” (Wednesday, October 24, 2012)
University Vice President and Secretary Robert Durkee ’69 chose to decline to be interviewed for the article. Nevertheless, the additional information he provides is consistent with our coverage, and his challenges to the accuracy of our article are not supported by our reporting.
University officials were given multiple opportunities to comment as early as a week before publication. I was personally in contact with both Durkee and University Spokesperson Martin Mbugua in the 48 hours prior to publication regarding the specific focus of the article, and I repeatedly requested a University response.
Durkee was made aware that, if he chose not to be interviewed, the article would indicate as such. ‘Prince’ policy requires that all interviews be conducted in person or over the phone, a fact that editors have communicated to University officials. Exceptions are only granted in extraordinary circumstances, which were not present in this case.
To address Durkee’s specific points: The University was notified we would report the White House meeting, but it formally declined to provide any information beyond a brief comment by the director of government affairs.
Durkee’s statement about the centralization of outreach efforts is consistent with our reporting. Before the administration change, efforts were initiated from other points in the University.
Finally, the article notes that “at least six direct overtures” took place. This conclusion is based on information from two dozen people, some of whom were personally involved in outreach to Obama.
We continue to prioritize the accuracy of our work.
Original URL: http://www.dailyprincetonian.com/2012/10/26/31643/