With Geoffrey Mearns now officially the incoming Northern Kentucky University president, there is a lot of talk about what is going to be changed and implemented.
For the most part, The Northerner has been quiet about asking questions or presenting requests to presidential candidates.
While we’re not sure when it originated, we have noticed during our time here that NKU seems to have a “culture of silence.”
We’re crossing our fingers that some of the potential changes will include a shift of these attitudes and behaviors.
When working toward finding the truth in many situations there are often roadblocks that don’t seem to be common in other universities or even corporate environments.
Sources, sometimes for the most benign of stories, seem to be fearful. When a recorder is pulled from a pocket and requested to be used in an interview, it often receives the same look as a gun.
When we make calls and request information, not only do potential sources often deny it for various reasons of policy, but frequently rudeness, or open fear is presented as well.
In addition to that, sources occasionally want to see stories before they go to print, to either check the tone or the quotes that were used.
We’re hoping that as NKU continues to grow and change, we can use some potential cultural changes here to educate the community on how and why we do what we do.
Rather than individuals on campus being fearful to speak due to the possibility of retaliation, we hope they will be enabled to step forward without fear of ostracism, and will be confident in the power of a news source on their own campus.
Our priorities also lie with those that do speak up, but find themselves “flapping in the breeze,” or being reprimanded. Rather than darting out on fellow colleagues and students, we’re hoping that a cultural shift would help individuals support their peers when an issue is raised.
If it is something true and common, it is important to remember that unsolved opposition can have a ripple effect, which can in turn affect the entire campus community.
We acknowledge that as a student newspaper, we can be seen as lacking experience or the know-how to handle professional situations. However, we are truly dedicated to informing the campus community of the issues that hit home ethically, truthfully and fearlessly. And that’s a damn good place to start.
Armed with that, a desire to constantly improve, learn from mistakes, and build on successes, we are poised to take on whatever NKU is faced with in the coming years.
We’re simply hoping that NKU’s growth will include that of the campus social environment as well. Maybe we’re idealistic, but regardless of what happens, we’ll be here.