A mandatory faculty and staff meeting was called in the last week of October by President VanAken in the Hammerschmidt Memorial Chapel. As is routine with events not open to the student body, The Leader extended a courtesy requesting permission to attend and cover the meeting so as to keep the student community informed of any pertinent announcements or discussions. However, we were told in an email that it was “limited to faculty and staff.”
This is a problem.
Why was the media banned? As members of the media, we serve as the conduit for information between the administration and the students it serves. Barring the press from events where issues pertaining to EC and the way it runs are discussed indirectly equates to censoring students’ knowledge of such issues. We represent the voice of the students. How is it acceptable that we were left out of the conversation?
While EC is a private business and has the right to hold private meetings, it is still an institution of higher education. Thus, it caters to students first and foremost, which means it must keep them engaged in and aware of all discussions that could potentially affect them.
Regardless of what issues were discussed and whether or not the administration believes certain issues are of importance to students, the point is that it is not up to them to decide. Students must be given the option to make that decision on their own.
It is not the administration’s right, nor is it ethical to censor students’ knowledge about what goes on at EC.
To limit knowledge is to limit the voice. When the voice is restricted, it eventually becomes silent.
Students cannot truly be part of the campus if they have no idea what goes on. The student body is large and has the ability to make a significant change or difference.
The Leader is a source of students’ knowledge regarding the happenings at EC, and as a newspaper we represent the media. Limiting the media’s attendance to such events is infringing on the freedom of the press.
With this limitation, the president’s office is telling the media what they can and cannot cover, and as a result, what the student body can and cannot know. The administration has no right to decide what is and is not newsworthy, which it is attempting to do when barring the press from covering certain events.
The Leader does not, and never has, worked to serve the best interests of the school. In- stead, our job is to report on issues that affect or interest the entire campus community, primarily the students.
The Leader has the right to in- form students and will continue to do so no matter the cost. The media has the right to cover what happens on campus and no one has the right to say what cannot be covered, regardless of the content.
The administration must not prohibit the reach of the media or ban the press from covering events. Period.