Photojournalist Student Kicked Out Of Dorm

A student at San Francisco State University has been kicked out of his dorm for taking “pictures of partying, binge drinking, oral sex and, in particular, an alleged car burglary”. Here’s the latimes story and a thread started by Omar Vega himself.
What would you do if you saw someone breaking into a car? Take their photo or stop them?


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2 thoughts on “Photojournalist Student Kicked Out Of Dorm


  1. I have read several news stories and comments in photographers’ websites.

    Without touching on the “legality” of photojournalism done inside dorms without the “permission” required by the housing authorities, I do want to comment on the car burglary incident.

    I am amazed at the number of people, especially those in photojournalism, who think there is a moral quandry involved in Vega’s actions. Photojournalists take pictures of illegal and morally reprehensible acts everyday. That is a big part of the job. I have not previously heard anyone suggest that they should act “in loco” as police or social enforcers rather than recording events as they unfold.

    Vega had the good fortune to hear a crime being plotted. He had the good fortune that the plotters allowed him to accompany them and photograph them in the act. That any journalist should stop recording the event and intervene to stop it is absurd, and can only be opinion of people who simply do not understand the nature of journalism, the importance of its free and unhindered pursuit,and its essential nature to society at large.

    Is choosing to not intervene often difficult? Of course. Do many journalists chose at times to intervene? Most certainly. But that is a choice of conscience, and dependent on many immediate considerations. It is not for anyone else to second-guess that choice. In fact police most often say that “civilian” should not intervene to stop a criminal act.

    What I have not heard anywhere is how grateful the police ought to be that Vega recorded the burglary, and made his photos freely available, something that ought to be useful in the investigation. That he was charged with burglary is a travesty, and so clearly an abridgement of his (and OUR First Amendment rights that the police invilved should be reprimanded. The school will be fortunate if he doesn’t initiate a civil action following the housing authority’s use of this incident to kick him out of the dorms.

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