Editorial: We fact check, so why can’t you?

Furquan Stafford, photographed by The Signal

To be considered a student at Georgia State, one must first submit an intent to enroll. And while it may be a costly process, being enrolled at Georgia State brings many benefits to students, including access to the Recreation Center, the library, university courses and dining halls.

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Furquan Stafford managed to slide by that process, attending not one, not two, but three courses at entirely no cost — a fact that Georgia State was not familiar with until Signal inquiries began revealing Stafford’s involvement with the campus. Whether it was because professors did not follow university policy or because enrollment services simply don’t closely check how many students each class entertains, Stafford absorbed knowledge and material that the rest of us would have to pay an average of $500 for.

But this wasn’t the only time we caught Georgia State’s mishaps.

In yesterday’s award ceremony, Stafford was set to receive the President’s Volunteer Service Award, awarded to students that have committed to over 100 hours of community service in the past year. Stafford isn’t a student, yet applied, and was going to be awarded, simply because — once again — Georgia State did not fact-check the claims until The Signal brought the issue to the attention of the Office of Civic Engagement.

The office began fact-checking Stafford’s application claims on the day of the award ceremony, while material was due over a month ago. So can we assume that the office also took all the other recipients’ words in good faith, not bothering following up with recommendation letters at all?

If it was this easy for Stafford to do, we can only imagine how many other students (and non-students) have slipped through the cracks simply due to no fact-checking. It may be our job to tirelessly confirm facts and sources, but Georgia State should start, too.

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