Why transparency matters

Why transparency matters

On many college campuses, it is rare to be acquainted with the big shots of university administration. Often, presidents, deans and provosts are more behind-the-scene players than members of the college community. At Grand Valley State University, transparency from our administration is not perfect, but it’s better than most.

Still, there have been problems in the past. For example, The Lanthorn has received backlash from administration and community members because of editorials written, content covered and opinions expressed in columns. After each disagreement, we sat down with the offended party and talked through the issues as they applied to the GVSU community and, in most cases, we were able to come to an understanding. As the press, we feel as though it is our responsibility to serve our campus with all the news, even when it’s not positive news, and eventually, the administration has almost always been understanding of that.

Since we desire and demand transparency from our own organization, we also demand it from the university administration, both as students and as members of the press. Recently, all students, faculty and staff received communication from our university president, the chair of the executive committee of the University Academic Senate and our student senate president within a week of one another—that is an admirable display. Though there may still be room to elaborate, the correspondence gives us hope for communication with administration for years to come.

While we continue to urge administration to keep students in mind, we also encourage students to remain informed. Instead of standing idle with concerns in mind, remember nothing can be accomplished without dual communication and effort. Read the emails sent to you, attend events on campus such as Teach-Ins and provost searches, research ways that GVSU can be better. If we are asking for more power in how things are done at GVSU, we have to be willing to put in the work.

As we hear more and more news about the limiting and restricting of free information under the new Trump administration, we hope that those in charge at GVSU consider the unique benefits of student-to-administration communication at our university. We hope that as we hire a new provost and look for new people to join our campus community, we are also looking at how they will fit into the communication structure we have worked so hard to create and maintain. This relationship is not something that we can afford to lose.

So, as we look at the current state of social issues and administration both locally and nationally, it is more obvious than ever how imperative GVSU’s administration’s focus on putting students first has become rather than prioritizing hidden administrative meetings and decisions when the issues actually directly impact the entire community. After all, students make up the university, so isn’t it important to keep us in the loop?