Our View: Keeping quiet can be the same as a lie

DKS Editors

A records request filed in late September by the Daily Kent Stater revealed that the development company responsible for the eviction of more than 100 seniors in the Silver Oaks retirement community was initially hired by Kent State.

The university hired Capstone, an Alabama-based firm, in late 2009 to conduct a study on Kent State’s housing situation.

On each occasion, university administrators dodged telling the entire truth about the university’s relationship with the company.On three separate occasions, Daily Kent Stater reporters contacted university administration, giving sources ample opportunity to reveal the true nature of Kent State’s correspondence with the firm.

A Stater reporter asked President Lester Lefton on Sept. 26 whether he has ever met with any Capstone representative and whether he expressed any displeasure toward the development corporation.

“The university has nothing to do with Silver Oaks,” Lefton told the reporter. “There’s no formal relationship with them. I express displeasure to President Obama, to the governor, to all kinds of people about all kinds of things. We have no formal relationship with Silver Oaks or Capstone.”

Although it’s unknown if the university currently has a contract with Capstone, Lefton failed to mention any business relationship held in the past, and a business relation is clearly a formal relationship.

The university may not have encouraged Capstone’s decision to evict the senior citizens, but records show that correspondence continued between them through this September, and the university was clearly in contact with the firm when it found Silver Oaks.

Seniors living on the property were notified of their eviction in July and were required to leave by Oct. 1 because Capstone was planning to renovate it into student housing.

“This is a private property matter between the seller and the buyer. The university cannot tell a private owner what to do with its property,” Emily Vincent, director of university media relations, wrote in an email on Sept 7. “The university isn’t happy with what is taking place, and we have expressed that to the new owner.”

If it honestly had no part in the firm’s decision, then the university could and should have been more transparent about the contract it previously held with Capstone.

Had the university been upfront about the contract and clearly stated it didn’t support the decision to evict residents, the correspondence wouldn’t seem so shady now.

Leaving out part of the truth is still deceitful.

Editor’s note: Nick Glunt recused himself from the above editorial

due to his reporting on the initial story.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.