City Desk

All Hands on Deck

Washington City Paper's Lydia DePillis sent a note to the communications department at American University recently, looking for help finding a professor who could talk about how urban design does—or doesn't—affect crime. The response she got back today:

From: AUMedia <
Date: Mon, Jan 31, 2011 at 1:59 PM
Subject: RE: Crime Expert Request
Hello Lydia,

Thank you for your request for an AU expert. Unfortunately we cannot accommodate your inquiry at this time because the entire university is focused on bringing our students back from the conflict in Egypt.

Our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause, but please keep us in mind for any other opportunities in the future.

The entire university! That's dedication.

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  • Reader

    Presumably the media office is referring to the administrators who might otherwise help you find an expert. But it might be newsworthy to find out how many AU students are in Egypt, are they there in connection with university programs or are they private tourists or maybe Egyptian students who went home for the holidays, and how does the number of students who need rescue compare with those of other area universities?

  • Not Funny

    I get your humor here, but this is not a situation to make fun of. I agree with the "reader" that they are referring to administrators.

    I hope actually understand the multitude of the crisis in Egypt instead of trying to find reasons to make fun of people who can't help you with your lesser endeavors.

    This is definitely more newsworthy than urban design.

  • Get over it

    This isn't a great way to get media people to like and/or help you. Seems to me, journalists should attempt to cultivate positive relationships with those that help them get the best experts and interviews instead of publicly shaming them for what is clearly a form email.

    Or maybe try a phone call next time. I'd be surprised if this reporter gets any help from AU in the future - she certainly doesn't deserve it.

  • so funny i forgot to laugh

    Seriously? You think that what American should be focusing on is finding you an expert for some random piece on urban design? Do you read or watch the news (aside from your own clearly selfish publications)? This really was not entertaining at all and the fact that you think it's funny just gives you as a writer and your paper a bad name in my opinion.

  • Kinda Funny

    What does this have to do with last week's State of the Union?

    Square buildings clearly promote crime.

  • Mike Madden

    Oh, come on: It's the communications department. I doubt their press staffers are arranging transportation for any of the 20-some AU students in Egypt; answering calls from reporters about Egypt isn't quite as urgent as actually rescuing people. It doesn't take any more time to send a request on to the urban studies types than it does to reply to the initial e-mail.

    If Lydia had been trying to reach someone who actually had anything to do with the situation in Egypt, that'd be one thing. But she wasn't.

  • Ron moten

    "...the entire university is focused on bringing our students back from the conflict in Egypt." You morons dont think that's an absurd response? I wish you humorless fuckbags were in Egypt right now.

  • Rude

    Ron Moten. Are you in Egypt? If not, then shut your whore mouth.