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Editorial: Price of information

For amount students pay, UNH needs to be transparent

The New Hampshire

Published: Friday, April 26, 2013

Updated: Friday, April 26, 2013 02:04

When a big story breaks, whether that is on the local, state or national level, it is the public’s right to know what is going on. That is why the U.S. Constitution provided the press freedoms, so other groups would not be able to suppress the public from what is going on.

That is why, when there is big news on campus here at the University of New Hampshire, it is important for the administration to be forthcoming with the students about what is going on.

After all, when New Hampshire residents are paying $16,422 in tuition, according to the UNH Admissions website and out-of-state students pay nearly $30,000, the students’ right to know what is happening here in Durham practically comes due to the price students pay to attend UNH.

So when there is news like the allegations against UNH professor Marco Dorfsman, who is potentially facing termination after allegations surfaced that Dorfsman tampered with student evaluations, it is discomforting that the university is so unwilling to provide information about the situation.

It is discomforting because of the importance this issue has, especially because we are approaching the portion of the semester where students would typically evaluate their professors. Because if these evaluations can be tampered with, like they allegedly have been by Dorfsman, it diminishes the integrity of a system that the university continually stresses the importance of.

So when several of the officials The New Hampshire contacted fail to provide even the slightest amount of information, it is frustrating to see the administration withhold information from a student body like this.

Of course this is not the first time the university faculty have withheld information from the student body.

Back on Feb. 24, 2012, The New Hampshire published a story on two fraternities, and a sorority, facing sanctions for behavior that occurred during the fall semester. The reason for the delay was because of UNH Greek Life, and the officials in the MUB that advise them, withheld the information for 11 weeks before informing TNH.

At the time, MUB Director MaryAnne Lustgraaf said UNH Greek Life made the decision to inform TNH to be “transparent” with the public, despite the fact that some of the sanctions had already expired by the time the public was informed.

It was an example of university officials withholding information from a student body that deserves to know.

And while the Dorfsman situation presents a much larger issue than the sanctions these Greeks faced, these tampering allegations are just as – if not more – important for the university to inform the student body about in a timely manner.

Instead TNH, and the rest of the student body, was presented with a series of “no comment” statements that do little to inform, and provided fodder for speculation. It is with speculation where the student body, and the university, can run into trouble.

Hopefully, within the coming days, university officials will come to their senses and inform a base of students who pay an exceedingly amount of money – particularly in New Hampshire, where the average student debt upon graduation is the highest in the country – and have the right to know what is going on.

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