Our View: BUS meeting shows need for transparency

DKS Editors

When Daily Kent Stater reporter Dan Moore and photographer Valerie Brown went to cover last night’s Black United Students emergency meeting, they were met with strong resistance.

They were told at the beginning of the meeting that it was a closed executive meeting, so they could not report on what happened. However, they were permitted to stay as students.

The reason reporters were there in the first place was because of news that one of the oldest organizations on campus was at risk of disbanding. This is a story that would affect many students on campus, who have a right to know what is going on.

BUS programmer Danea Rhodes explained that the meeting was for active BUS members only. Any student who had never been to a BUS meeting before would be allowed to enter because attending would make them an active member.

Because the meeting welcomed more than executive members, the Daily Kent Stater could not be legally excluded from reporting on what happened in the meeting.

However, after several warnings that their presence was prohibited, Brown was escorted out, and Moore was warned that if he took any more notes, he would also have to leave.

Although Moore and assigning editor Lydia Coutré stayed until the end, Rhodes said anything discussed in the hour-and-a-half meeting could not be published.

According to the Ohio Revised Code Section 121.22, all meetings of any public body are open to the public at all times. Under the Ohio sunshine law, BUS is a public body.

Allowing students into the meeting makes it public, and therefore reporters are allowed too.

We have a responsibility to tell students what the truth is behind the organization’s advertising. But this duty also falls to BUS.

We urge BUS to be more transparent as a major student organization on this campus. They receive allocations from the university and should be more open with their actions. Rhodes said the entire reason for the meeting was to get students interested in running for executive board positions for next semester.

During the meeting there was also discussion of how to make the minority organizations coexist better. Former Kent African Student Association President Tristian Holmes said there are issues of groups not working together. Others in the meeting expressed similar sentiments. However, afterwards, BUS Secretary Jamilia Bush said there were no tensions between groups.

If there are in fact tensions, BUS should be more willing to discuss them. How else can the group move forward and gain strength?

There’s nothing to hide.