Pecker and Pace: What are the Next Steps?

Kwadar Ray , Managing Editor

Three weeks ago, I penned an opinion piece in The Chronicle calling for Pace to cut ties with David J. Pecker, one of the school’s wealthiest donors, but most notorious alumnus. Pecker, the owner of the National Enquirer, is a tabloid tycoon and has become infamous for unethical practices.

Among the most noteworthy unethical practices Pecker and his magazine have partaken inclifes the recent blackmailing attempt directed at Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, and even worse, the recent uncovering of the “catch and kill” system Pecker used to pay hush money to women coming forward with their allegations of being sexually harassed or assaulted by President Trump.

While I recognized the potential importance of the piece I wrote, the last thing I expected was for it to get as much attention as it has on and off-campus. I’m very appreciative of all the faculty and staff who have told me they agreed with my stance on the issue.

The off-campus response has been sort of surreal. The first outside media publication to pick up the story was the New York Post’s Page Six. Then, Lohud interviewed me about the piece and published an article about it, too. The story was also mentioned in CNN’s Brian Stelter’s Reliable Sources daily newsletter.

While it was great for The Chronicle to receive some publicity, there is one thing that stood out from this whole scenario: Pace’s response. Unfortunately, the story did not change the university’s position on Pecker.

“Pace does not have plans to remove David Pecker’s name from the lecture hall or rescind his honorary degree,” Cara Cea, a Pace spokeswoman, told Lohud. “Many programs, facilities and scholarships are supported in large part by the contributions of our many generous alumni, including David Pecker.”

Despite the regional and national attention on the situation, Pace hasn’t been swayed. So ultimately, the piece’s goal hasn’t been reached.

And that is why further action by the community must be taken. Students, facility and staff must continue to press the university on removing Pecker’s name from any honor or building. Whether this means using social media, writing a letter to one of the university’s higher-ups or creating a petition, there are plenty of ways to make Pace act up and do what is right.

If we don’t take these next steps as a community, this story will sadly fade away and get erased by the 24/7 news cycle. Keeping the heat on Pace is the only way to convince the school to sever ties from its most notorious alumnus.