As Sunshine Week, a national initiative organized by the American Society of News Editors with the purpose of educating people on the importance of transparency in government, celebrates its 13th anniversary, DePauw administration has began to cut down on student media’s access to administrators.
In recent weeks, the University has been forcing student media groups to direct all their questions for various administrative officials through Ken Owen, special adviser to President Mark McCoy. At first, it was dismissed by the newspaper as a one-time occurrence, but it has kept happening week after week. It soon came to light that the same thing was happening to D3TV and WGRE.
Student media organizations are learning experiences for students. Part of this learning experience is encountering different types of interviews. If the student reporters at DePauw are interviewing the same person for every article, they are not benefiting from experiencing different types of interviews with different types of people. This immediately sets students at DePauw behind students from other universities who have open communication with their campus administrators.
Some of the biggest issues The DePauw has been trying to tackle are things that directly involve cooperation with the University’s administration. When covering topics like alcohol consumption, facility upgrades, speakers and various other issues on campus, being forced to acquire information through one person in the administration only furthers the divide between student media and the current administration.
If we, as student media, are consistently receiving information about all aspects of DePauw from a single source, our integrity as a news outlet is tarnished. Different administrators know information about different parts of DePauw, and it is essential for us to speak directly to said administrators about their respective areas of expertise.
You, the reader, deserve to know what’s going on at the University you attend and contribute to each day. With enough support, the University cannot ignore this issue. We will do as much as we can, as student media, to continue to cover the issues on campus you care about; however, it is also up to students to demand transparency in the administration with us.
It is not an “us versus them” issue. Students and administration alike are all part of this University. As we encourage the administration to open the metaphorical blinds, we do so out of mutual interest, since a lack of communication can lead to the spreading of false information.
Transparency, in this day and age, matters now more than ever. When it comes to serious topics that affect the student body, let’s not leave room for any speculation.