In the midst of the confusion surrounding Living Learning Communities and the university’s decision not to implement new LLCs next year, there was silence in a corner of the campus.
Monday night, Rachel Siron, hall director of Carter and Samuelson halls, sent an e-mail to LLC members asking them to refer questions to the chancellor’s office. One sentence read, “If you receive calls from the media, including the Skiff, please refer them to Tracy Syler-Jones,” the associate vice chancellor and executive director of marketing and communication.
Administrators say it was not their intention to gag the recipients of this e-mail and they argue that it was to protect students from the media frenzy surrounding the issue. But the effect was the same for some students. Some declined to comment to the Skiff, referring to this particular e-mail.
It is true that the rhetoric of the e-mail didn’t explicitly prohibit these community members from speaking out on the issue, but it is also plausible that when students receive requests from an authority figure, such as their hall director, they are likely to follow them.
Contentions are bound to rise at times – this is not an unhealthy sign of a campus community. But when there is an atmosphere of secrecy and reticence regarding the issue, it is.
Leaders of this university should strive to foster an environment of openness.
Managing editor Saerom Yoo for the editorial board.