During my time at the Torch, there has been a running joke about how many people and organizations on campus would prefer to not speak with us.
We know it is a rule that RAs cannot go on the record to speak with the Torch because of the regulations outlined in the contracts or agreements that they sign. We get that. While it makes issues found within the dorms a little harder to talk about, it is something that everyone must follow.
I understand why some departments are unwilling to speak with us. They figure that the best way to stay in a comfortable spot marketing-wise is to have the only publicity be what the university tries to spoon-feed students.
Many departments and organizations do not talk to us for fear that we may put something negative out. So, instead of trying to explain their side of an issue, they leave us to speak to people who are willing to complain about the potential problem.
Personally, I don’t understand the practice. For one, it seems cowardly. If an issue arises, wouldn’t it be wiser to explain your side of the story instead of putting your head in the sand? Either way, it seems to cover themselves enough just to let us find whatever we’re looking for with as little cooperation from them as possible. It also leads to more embarrassment for that organization when we find something negative about these departments.
I’m afraid I have to disagree with this lack of transparency. I think it is a joke. But I can’t make these departments and organizations talk with us. This is their decision. While I think it is a misstep, I can at least respect this decision. Plus, I know I have qualified people on my staff to overcome this lack of transparency.
I draw the line, however, when I have a student coming to me because some departments are turning students away when they attempt to speak with them as they try to work on class assignments. To make matters worse, they are using this paper as the reason for them denying students.
I had a student come to me last week talking about how one department stated that because this student could not prove they were not with the Torch, they refused to speak with him about an issue. Even when the student proved that they were not with the Torch, the organization was still unwilling to speak with them.
This situation tells me two things. First, these departments are amazingly lazy with their excuses. It is effortless to figure out who works for the Torch and who does not. Just take a look at the bottom corner of this page and you will see a column naming every person who works on this staff. We even have a staff directory online; it is easy to figure out if a student is associated with us.
Second, even when this student did that simple task, he was still denied. This tells me that no matter what this student said, the departments would deny them any access to information to help solve their issues.
I now understand that the university will not be transparent with the student population and the Torch. Using the Torch as the university’s scapegoat is one reason students’ education is being hindered. Please keep my organization’s name far away from denying these students the access they not only require, but deserve.
That excuse is just cowardly. I do not approve of anyone soiling the Torch’s name and using it as an excuse for poor policies.