In an ideal world, a government would have an open relationship with their people and the press. Transparency would be the standard and there would be no subterfuge or trickery.
We are not living in an ideal world. This became glaringly apparent during the Torch’s coverage of the recent SGI scandal.
On Tuesday, when rumors began to spread of the FORCE ticket’s suspension from campaigning for the upcoming election, the Torch’s investigation was hampered by the close-mindedness of several SGI officials.
A blanket ban on speaking to any and all Torch reporters was issued. Members of SGI physically got between Torch reporters and candidates. Phone calls and emails went unanswered, with the exception of SGI president, Patrick Brewer.
This is not the first time this has happened. Torch inquiries to SGI are more often than not ignored, even after being assured that the priority of the executive board is to be communicative.
Even last week, when asked to provide information on their platforms, only one of the tickets, FORCE, responded. POWER, prior to their election, seemed to have quickly adopted their potential predecessor’s mentality.
It has been exceedingly clear every year, and especially this year, that Student Government Inc. sees little or no value in the role of a student newspaper. Taryn Glynn, the chair of the elections committee, was apparently under the impression that the Torch was a University publication.
The Torch is completely free and independent of the University, funded solely by itself through advertisements brought in by its own staff.
To imply that any newspaper is simply another mouthpiece of the powers that be is to grossly misunderstand the role of the press in society.
It is vital that there is a mutual respect between the government and the press, that both entities understand each other’s roles and uphold a working relationship that benefits the people they are serving.
Certain individuals that hold office in this year’s Student Government Inc. and on the election committee displayed a total disdain for the students that the Torch diligently tries to inform.
Those officials believe that they should have the ultimate say on what the student body knows, even if it would benefit their cause to make people aware of current issues and events.
When the vice president of SGI lies to reporters, it is clear that there is a level of professionalism missing in, not all, but certain members of student government.
It is also clear that there is a profound misunderstanding with these certain members of SGI what the job of the media is, and that entirely ignoring the press is not an option for aspiring politicians.
We at the Torch hope that the newly-elected executive board of SGI, whoever they may be, will be more willing to work with us than their predecessors.
We hope that they will realize the opportunities and advantages open to them through working with the student newspaper to promote the issues and concerns of their constituents: the students of this University. At the very least, we hope they answer our emails.