City Desk

Breast-Feeding American Professor Apologizes to Student Reporters

Everyone's already had their say on whether American University's The Eagle student paper should have reported on Professor Adrienne Pine breast-feeding in class. Everyone, that is, except for The Eagle.

Now, just when everyone was sick of hearing about lactivists, The Eagle has come out with a story about the squabble that was set off after Pine slammed the paper in her own article. It's not really the breast-feeding story they were working on pre-fracas, since it focuses as much on criticism of the Eagle than on the breast-feeding, but it does contain this interesting nugget:

Pine emailed individual apologies Wednesday night to the reporter and editors involved for publishing their names and contact information online, as well as the tone of her essay.

That should please Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak, who trashed Pine's response to the paper. Meanwhile, the Eagle's making its own apologies—in an editor's note, Eagle editor-in-chief Zach Cohen writes that the paper should have given Pine more time to respond to their questions.

Breastfeeding picture by Shutterstock

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  • kob

    I was impressed with the persistence of the Eagle reporter to press forward. A lot of reporters might have backed away after the first email from Prof. Pine. A lot of reporters might have treated the initial email exchange as confirmation enough and a means to run a story. But the Eagle reporter did not; she persisted to learn, to understand. Whether it was a topic for a news story is an entirely different issue and one for the editors. The reporter was doing her job, and doing it well.

    My total takeaway is this: The journalism program at AU, as well as the student newspaper, may be doing a good job to prepare people to do real reporting work. Kudos to the reporter for pursuing what had to be a difficult and sensitive subject. There will be plenty of other sensitive and difficult stories ahead. She may have a great career ahead of her.

    I also suspect that Prof. Pine is probably very good at what she does. She's obviously passionate, committed to her ideas and willing to challenge her students. She doesn't sit and read from notes. Her essay, whether you agree with the approach, was well argued and strong. The world needs more people who are passionate about their ideas. Many causes today are languishing, amply illustrated by the corporate takeover of the election. Prof. Pine's willingness to mix it up in defense of her beliefs impressed me.

  • Tom M.

    I agree in part with KOB but also strongly disagree with this posting. I agree with KUDOS to the reporter. The actual text of the inquiry to professor pine is a model of professionalism and thoughtful consideration. Prof Pine's response is a polemic, rude, and disrespectful. Why would Prof Pine pretend to have authority to determine what is or is NOT reportable or "newsworthy" by the student paper. She sent a polemic. Was that response in her essay "well argued and strong"? I certainly don't judge it as such. If that is what passes for "well argued and strong", i suspect Prof. Pine may have some difficulties during the review of her tenure application if it is indicative of her broader body of professional work. I'm married to an academic feminist scholar (not at AU) and am a committed progressive and feminst. This is NOT about political viewpoint. It is about the liberties some professors seem compelled to take with their privledge and position. She was attempting to intimidate a student (reporter). Is that acceptable?

  • Sue Wilson

    I don't think Dr. Pine was taking liberties with her position in the way she responded to repeated inquiries from the AU Eagle. Professors are allowed to have opinions, strong ones, and to express them to the best of their ability both verbally and in print. Dr. Pine was treating the reporter as an adult (which presumably she is) who could handle herself in an argument (which evidently she could). There is some inherent sexism and ageism, I think, in the assumption that the reporter needed to be handled with kid gloves.

  • Typical DC BS

    I think the professor is now having second thoughts about the whole affair. We are all human, which means we all make mistakes. Upon reflection, we can probably agree there are times we wish we had stated things in a different way to get our point across and wish we had thought about behaving differently.

    I will always cut a single mom some slack - it's a tough job! Professor Pine has an interesting subject to discuss in her class in the future when the time is right.

  • Ivy

    Funny, I'm sick of people whining about breastfeeding.

  • Tom M

    Sue W- disrespect is disrespect. Charging sexism and ageism at those who disagree with you is not an argument. Also the professor's essay was neither sound reasoning nor well argued. You and i can disagree. But i suspect.most readers will more.frequently share my conclusion.

  • kob

    To argue that "most readers will more frequently share my conclusion" is presumptuous.

  • Tom M

    A.prediction and a.presumption are.different things. I suggest you review their precise definitions before confusing or.conflating.them again in the future.

  • http://washingtoncitydesk troy

    Is Adrienne Pine crazy-she wiped out a titie and breastfeed her sick baby in class-while teaching-without CNN reporting-her story would be terminated American University Professor fired after exposing her breast in class to feed her child-
    I am not against breast feeding or women's rights-the story makes absolutely no sense-as a college professor I find it hard to believe that she can not afford daycare-since her baby is sick-why didn't Adrienne stay at home with the baby? She is did the breastfeeding act to get on television-there will be not public breastfeeding movement-no healthcare or whatever she was talking about on CNN- Message to CNN -I got a story for you

  • Job

    Your prediction is presumptuous. Sorry, I'll try to be more clear in the future.

  • kob

    Your prediction is presumptuous. Sorry, I'll try to be more clear in the future

  • http://none Leroy

    I swear, yall have got to stop being so PC. So what if she breastfeeds? If you didn't get breastfed, you wouldn't be here on this earth. Besides, next time that tittie comes out, Im asking for the other one. Stop acting like some goddam pansies!!!!