We have a number of questions about the decision of Lane County District Attorney William Frye to subpoena four editors of this newspaper to find out about drug use on campus.
Why were those four the only persons subpoenaed? What about University officials who have been investigating drug use, especially LSD, for some time now? Why haven’t any of them been called before the Grand Jury?
WHy were none of the four students contacted informally by the police ahead of time? Isn’t it normal to conduct a police investigation first to see if the information can be obtained without the glare of publicity and to use the subpoena only if the police couldn’t get the information they wanted?
Why did Mr. Frye issue a press release and go to the trouble of sending somebody all the way to Portland with it? Is it normal for a Grand Jury proceeding, which is usually secret?
Why has Mr. Frye said that the investigation is not intended to be a criticism of the Emerald for printing the story and then turned around and criticized the story as an inaccurate picture of the drug situation and of student opinion at the University? Why were the four editors asked questions in the Grand Jury concerning the editorial policy of the Emerald, particularly about the degree of faculty and administration control of the paper? Is all this germane to a drug investigation?
Who does Mr. Frye keep insisting that the problem is small, saying that he has evidence but offering none of it? Why did he insist that the Grand Jury investigation was to allay public fears about the drug problem? Is that normal reason to hold a Grand Jury investigation?
The other newspaper published in Eugene said last week it will make no comment on the case because that would constitute “trial by newspaper.” We agree, to some extent. Any comment on the key question in the case–The right of a journalist to keep his sources secret—would certainly be out of order. We agree with the Register-Guard that Miss Buchanan will certainly get a fair hearing from Lane County judges. We would never question that.
But we do think there are some questions that need to be raised about the character of this investigation. And we feel Mr. Frye has a duty to give the public the answers to these questions.