Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Are You Kidding Me?

What's going on at my alma mater, Marywood University?  Yes, it was a college in my day.

Bomb threats, vandalism, student protests, faculty protests, unanswered questions about finances, complaints about a lack of transparency, general dissent and unhappiness...  The list grows longer by the day.

The latest incident is a dust up between the student newspaper, The Wood Word, and the vice president for business affairs/treasurer.

According to the newspaper staff, they've been trying to verify financial information that appeared in a recent protest related flyer.  The staff complains the VP is attempting to censor them by demanding all of his responses be printed in their entirety, and he gets a chance to look at the newspaper stories BEFORE THEY ARE PUBLISHED.

That's a huge no-no in journalism.

Granted, The Wood Word doesn't enjoy a lot of protection.  It's an arm of the University and the University holds all the cards.

For the most part, I've found the newspaper staff to be a responsible bunch, who take their roles seriously.  I had a bit of a problem with an opinion piece that repeated unsubstantiated financial problems back in the spring.  I believe the staff knows that a newspaper is a powerful tool, and they should use their power wisely.

As for the VP, it seems like he wants to make sure his message gets out unfiltered, but what he wants is unreasonable.  The school has a public relations staff.  I'm guessing he didn't run his policy by them.  I hope he re-thinks things.  I also hope administration and the students come up with a reasonable solution.

In spite of its problems, Marywood is a fine institution.  It can be better.  Improvement won't happen until everyone works together.  You also have to look at the culture here.  Marywood has never been known as a place for rapid change.  Take small steps, and eventually, I hope, everyone will be satisfied with the destination.