A few weeks ago the St. John’s community received two shocking news stories: the death of Eleanor Taffner (who contributed much to St. John’s) and the arrest of St. John’s former dean Cecilia Chang (who allegedly embezzled $1 million dollars from the University while forcing student labor for scholarship).
Both are shocking stories equally important to the University community, however, the students and their parents have yet to receive any formal communication from the University about the Chang incident. One can only assume it’s because of the negative nature it entails.
Instead, the community has been informed entirely by way of the Torch and other news organizations around New York. A Vietnamese newspaper even ran a translation of the New York Times article that covered this horrible incident; yet, we still have not heard anything from the school officials come forth to address the student body. Why is that?
It is vital for an institution’s survival to adhere and uphold its core values and beliefs. At St. John’s, it is crucially important not only that we share those core values of truth, love, respect, opportunity, excellence and service, but that we also strive to put those values into our daily practice.
However, it seems to not be the case here with the practices of this University’s administration. A huge scandal like Chang’s may seem unworthy of informing the student body because of its terrible nature, but surely something must come forth, even if it comes in the form of a corporate apology.
Because of this reluctant movement of the school, many students feel angry, betrayed and disgusted towards both Chang and the University. This is Chang’s evil doing, but the University also has to take serious responsibility for this incident.
Last semester at the Academic Forum, hundreds of students addressed their concerns and disapproval of the new schedule change, stressing the fact that they had not been informed in advance of this decision. Regardless, the University still carried out the change, leading to struggles for students and organizations as they tried to adjust the new schedule.
At that forum, students felt angry and voiced their dissatisfaction with the administration failing to communicate with them. Now, a more serious incident happens at St. John’s and still the community, who have all the right to be informed about this incident, have had to hear it solely from somewhere else.
Think of the thousands of people who are putting their trust and money into St. John’s. Where is the truth, love and respect students deserve from St. John’s?
The community of St. John’s might recognize and highly appreciate all the efforts of St. John’s to improve the school’s reputation. However, that does not mean students support the school to become a coward, refusing to face the truth.
The Chang incident may hurt the University for a while, but any efforts to cover it up will only hurt St. John’s in the long run. If St. John’s is trying to gain some respect from peer institutions, they should at least have some respect for their students first.