Editorial: Biden’s senatorial papers put himself and the university in the spotlight
The university achieved nationwide attention last week when news outlets requested access to former Vice President Joe Biden’s senatorial papers. Biden originally donated the records to Morris Library in 2012 on the agreement that they would only be made available two years after he retired from public office. After announcing his candidacy for president last year, the conditions changed so that the documents would be viewable two years after he left “public life.”
Last week, Biden appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe where he denied former senate aide Tara Reade’s sexual assault allegation against him. He also said that he does not have any knowledge of a complaint filed by her. Despite this, he said he was against approving a search for her name in the Senate records because the National Archives would be the only place to hold something such as a complaint.
With Reade’s accusation against Biden, staff at the university’s Office of Communications and Marketing (OCM) seem to be receiving an influx of calls from people asking about the report she claims to have filed, which is entombed in our library. This does not mean people should remain silent. Since the university became a topic of interest for the press and a target for online hackers, the OCM have not released any statements during a time where transparency is key.
Our editorial board understands that it is a standard process for politicians to transfer records to their alma maters. Allowing a task-force to search through them would help his case if he is honest in saying nothing is there. It would be a long and complicated process but being transparent in regards to a sexual assault allegation would be professional.
We do not suggest that Biden allow the entirety of his 1,850 boxes of documents to be revealed to the public if certain papers include people other than him on completely unrelated topics. This would be an invasion of privacy to those unrelated to this particular case.
If this topic continues to keep Biden in hot water throughout the election cycle, it could be worth making the records open to the public while redacting the names of other people whose characters could be damaged from their release.
The Review’s weekly editorials are written to reflect the majority opinion of The Review’s staff. This week’s editorial was written by John Cassidy, opinion editor. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.