Withholding flu numbers hinders university trust

Last week our university was hit by the swine flu bug, yet the administration insists on withholding the number of students who have been infected. While university officials have done a good job alerting the student body of the situation and treating the infected, they have not done their job of being straightforward with all the information they have. Don Mills, vice chancellor for student affairs, said that the numbers fuzzy up the real issue — the efficient treatment of sick students. However, with the frenzy our world was put into a few months ago with the swine flu outbreak, it is no surprise that the withholding of these facts does not leave minds at ease. Instead it creates an even bigger worry – if they will not tell how many people have it, is it out of control? It could be five or it could be 500. Without the knowledge of the administration, it can’t be known for sure.

In a 2007 press release announcing participation in the University & College Accountability Network, a Web site that allows students and parents to evaluate the university based on hard data such as graduation rates and student demographics, Chancellor Victor Boschini prides the university’s administration on its honest interactions with the student body.

“Transparency is crucial in this day and age,” Boschini said in the release. “TCU tries to be as transparent as possible with prospective students and their parents and this Web site will further our goal to remain as open as possible.”

The recent actions of the administration show otherwise. Just as we expect with our nation’s government, the leaders and administration of our university should give us reliable and undisguised information, especially when health and safety is on the line.

Features editor Katie Ruppel for the editorial board.