The mob attacks that occurred on Oct. 21 sparked conversations across Main Campus, but, within our newsroom, the use of the word “juvenile” dominated many of our staff discussions.
Ultimately, we decided to use the term “minors” in our brief and main articles documenting the mob. While the TU Alert sent to students did say juveniles, we recognize the connotation that comes with the word is not representative of the people who made up the mob.
Juvenile is commonly used by police to refer to anyone under the age of 18, and because of this, the word has a connotation that it refers to children who are criminals. Minors, on the other hand, has no other meaning than that a person is under the age of 18. It has no positive or negative connotation.
“People have this vision that it was all 200 teens [that hurt students], but there were little pockets that gathered where people got hurt,” said Charlie Leone, the executive director of Campus Safety Services.
To use juveniles in our coverage of the mob would imply that all of the minors were somehow doing something criminal, which is inaccurate and irresponsible.
When discussing the events of last week, please be conscious of the connotation behind such words, recognizing terms may indicate meanings beyond what is said.