Let them speak

The Equinox responds to ‘no comment’

The Equinox exists to promote the free flow of information, to protect the First Amendment, to stimulate high standards in the practice of journalism and to foster excellence among student journalists.

These standards are upheld to the best of our ability. We are not in the business of misstating facts or publishing misinformation. Yet, without access to clearly public information from Residential Life directors and assistants, we are unable to keep Keene’s student body informed about events they clearly need information about. We have been faced with an issue where Residential Assistants do not feel comfortable simply discussing policy changes within Residential Life. This hinders our ability to inform the public of how the school responds to city ordinances.

In a recent article discussing the campus’ response to the city of Keene raising the age of tobacco purchase to 21, The Equinox contacted 19 Residential Assistants. After receiving 11 responses, 10 of them declined to comment. Three Residential Directors also declined to comment. The Equinox reached out to find out how Residential Life has responded to the new smoking ban for people under the age of 21.

Because of directions stated by Residential Life to their staff with ambiguous language and unclear direction, some Residential Assistants choose to decline for comment lest they risk their job which covers the cost of housing and provisions.

As journalists we are taught to chase information that appears to be hidden. An organization such as Residential Life owes it to our readers to be transparent and clear about policy changes that will affect those readers. We believe that when anyone hides information behind an organization, it means there is something to hide.

As journalists we strive to make our number one priority to publish accurate information and to inform the public and shine light on any and all situations in the campus that need light. We work relentlessly week after week to maintain the quality of our paper and uphold our mission. There have been mistakes made in the past and we have corrected them in a timely manner both on our website and in our following issue making it clear that we strive for transparency. This news organization is not only a job but a responsibility of the members of our staff, E-board, and advisors. While not every story we write is a hard hitting story, we are there when the campus needs it.

When The Equinox asks Residential Life staff, directors, and assistants for clearly public information or comment about a subject which affects students at an institution supported by the public’s funding, they are obligated to comment.   

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