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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Editorial: Accessibility?

Published: September 29, 2006
Section: Opinions

Years ago, the universitys Student Union consistently issued press releases every month, with topics ranging from racism on campus to Turkey Shuttles.
Communication between the press and student government was facilitated by these releases, and they conveyed an eagerness by the union to involve the student body in current happenings.

So far this school year, the Union has failed to issue any press releases. Union President Alison Schwartzbaum 08 failed to submit her constitutionally-required progress reports for the first four weeks of school. Though a Director of Communications has been appointed by the Union executive board, dialogue between campus media and the Union has not improved.

In these very pages, Schwartzbaum wrote that our Student Union is one of the most transparent, accessible, and active in the nation. Certainly the Union is an active body;

however, heightened activity necessitates a greater effort on the part of the Union to both explain current aims and to consider new opportunities as they arise.
The Directior of Communications is a liaison whose primary responsibility is to contact, clarify, relay, and represent the Student Union to the press. If the liaison does not feel it is necessary to respond to our requests in a timely fashion, how can we expect our Senators to address student concerns quickly? Are we seeing a new Union mentality that promotes isolation and makes open dialogue a chore?

By holding an elected position, Union officials have a duty to inform the student body of their activities, and we, as the campus press, are the institution that can be most active in holding the Union accountable. After all, that was the original intention behind the formation of a free an independent press: to keep a critical eye on figures in office. The only way to reach the ideal of a truly open and transparent government is for government officials to actively speak to the press. The press is a vehicle of healthy discourse. The Union would do well to realize this.