Our View: University shows lack of transparency, yet again

DKS Editorial Board

At Wednesday’s External Relations and Development Committee meeting, Vice President Gene Finn announced that Kent State has, ahead of schedule, reached the university’s Centennial Campaign goal of raising $250 million.

Immediately after, it was announced that this information would be embargoed, and the press would not be allowed to publish the announcement until they made an official press release, which would happen in a month or two.

Since our reporters and editors had no part in negotiating the embargo and because the information was presented at a public meeting, the Stater chose to run the story at the top of our front page Thursday, much to the dismay of university officials.

Instead of celebrating the accomplishment, university officials wanted to pretend like they had not yet met their goal. As of Thursday night, the Centennial Campaign’s donation tracker on Kent State’s website had not been updated since June 15, showing only $236.6 million raised.

The university seems to be concerned that if the public finds out that Kent State has reached its goal ahead of time, they would not continue to donate to the campaign.

It’s somewhat of a deceptive approach. If donors are willing to give to the university, they would do so because they want to help students afford college, and they want to see the university grow and improve — they would not do it just to see a donation-tracking thermometer rise.

By knowingly withholding information from the public and for trying to prevent the press from reporting on a very important story, the university is once again showing its lack of transparency.

Reaching the Centennial Campaign’s goal ahead of time is certainly a positive thing, and the university should embrace this accomplishment. It should not be worried about scaring off prospective donors and can still make a good case for why their money is needed.

Perhaps future donors would feel more assured if the university were more up front with its fundraising campaigns.

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