Flames of the Torch: Transparency Issues Come Up Once Again

Flames of the Torch: Transparency Issues Come Up Once Again

Last week, the University announced a pretty big change in its popular Discover the World program, and we can’t help but feel some deja vu.

Rather than studying in Seville, Spain, students will now spend five weeks in Limerick, Ireland while participating in the Discover the World program. This change will be implemented during the spring 2018 semester — and it was announced after students had begun sending in nonrefundable deposits for the program.

To us, the move is reminiscent of the meal plan change last year that required townhouse students to purchase meal plans when they weren’t previously required to. That change was also announced after the University began accepting housing deposits for the 2017-18 school year.

Both are examples in which students were made aware of substantial changes too late in the process. That’s a problem.

While we know that policy or program changes take time, we believe any major changes should be announced before students begin committing to them — especially when it involves making nonrefundable deposits. For Discover the World, the deposit is $250, which may not seem like a lot of money to some, but can be a significant amount for others. But this is about more than money. It’s the principle of the matter. Events like these lead students to have less trust in the transparency of the University’s decision-making process, and that isn’t good for anybody.

Aside from the deposit issue, we still believe there are unanswered questions when it comes to the Discover the World change. One such issue that still remains unclear to us is what specifically changed in the issuing of the Schengen visa that precipitated this change.

We reported on what we knew, and clarified what we could for students. But the visa issue at hand is still unclear, and we wish the University had provided more answers for students in its initial email announcing the change.

Going forward, we hope the University will be more transparent with students when it comes to major changes in its programs and policies — especially when the changes directly affect students’ pockets.