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The Sunflower

Why transparency matters

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Wichita State receives more than $70 million in state funding each year. Several key, unelected WSU administrators make more than twice Gov. Sam Brownback’s salary of $99,636 and vice presidents make more than the vice president of the United States ($230,700) — and with so much public money on the line, the public’s right to know how money is being spent and decisions are being made comes with the territory.

The moment a person accepts an administrative position at a public university, like WSU, they become public officials. With their stature comes the responsibility of informing the public — including their students — of their decisions. They receive praise when they succeed and scrutiny when they don’t.  And rightfully so.

In the United States, the way we conduct public business is subject to public scrutiny. Sometimes information leaks and only part of the story comes out. This puts journalists in a precarious position: we can’t ignore important news, and when one side of a story comes out (sometimes putting the university or students in what administrators or student government may perceive as a negative light) and the interested parties don’t release all of the information they can — to clear up any misunderstandings and provide the complete narrative — only one side of the story comes out.

The truth shall set you free.

That’s why the entire situation going on at this university right now is so confusing. If “We the Students,” the Student Government Association and Faculty Senate are off-the-mark with their concerns about corporate influence on the university, a culture of fear of retaliation and a general lack of transparency from the administrators, it wouldn’t take much to convince the public otherwise.

Instead, each week it seems like someone else resigns, some corporate partnership forms, or some student or faculty concern receives lukewarm a response that doesn’t actually address the concern.

It’s easy to say, “The Sunflower isn’t giving the full story,” and it provides a nimble way to sidestep any legitimate concerns. But The Sunflower tries to get both sides of the story and report the facts. If we are not provided with records, documents, or additional context, we can’t simply make up excuses for one side or the other.

A well-informed public is the key to democracy — don’t throw it away.

 

6 Comments

6 Responses to “Why transparency matters”

  1. Shocker Til Death on March 31st, 2017 4:43 pm

    That is a highly derogatory cartoon of the University President and it is very difficult to discern exactly why The Sunflower would go down this path. If the paper published a similar derogatory cartoon of one of the student leaders involved in all the controversy (let’s just say Taben), there would be a deafening outcry. This is very poor form on the par of The Sunflower Editorial Board. Disgusting and mean spirited.

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  2. Real Shocker on March 31st, 2017 8:15 pm

    Death,

    The Editorial Board has proabaly seen the document detailing the intentional withholding of information directed by Lou Heldman. If you saw that you might understand.

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  3. Shepard's bitch on March 31st, 2017 11:15 pm

    This is such bullcrap. The sunflower is a great newspaper printing both sides of the story. They can’t help it if the President John Bardo is a loser. And shocker till death, please quit calling this loser of a president a respectable president.

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  4. Shocker Til Death on April 1st, 2017 10:45 am

    Dear Bitch (you picked the name, not me),

    Shepard & Azad have been a disaster for the SGA. Bardo is a true leader who has a far larger following than you want to admit. Looking forward to Paige & Breck getting things back on track. We the Other Students are tired of YOUR bull crap.

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  5. Shin on April 2nd, 2017 11:05 am

    This is not an April Fool’s Day joke.

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  6. Pre-med LAS on April 2nd, 2017 5:53 pm

    When can we start talking about asking some dean’s of colleges to resign? I’d like to start with liberal arts and sciences. Can’t enroll in classes because classes are full on first day of enrollment or are not offered, courses are academically easier than KU and other universities, lack of quality advisors, plus minus system puts pre-med students at a disadvantage, not all professors give grades on a plus minuses system, it seems like a beurocratic nightmare going between different departments trying to get clarification for a degree requirement. If things don’t change before next fall, I think I’ll leave for Newman University. After doing some research they have a far superior pre-med program.

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