The Gatepost Editorial: Students deserve transparency

In the Feb. 2 issue of The Gatepost, we reported the FBI was never involved in the investigation concerning the spree of hate crimes that occurred on campus last semester.

While we have yet to find a record of the University deliberately stating the FBI was aiding the University in the investigation, we at The Gatepost believe the University wasn’t as transparent as it should have been in explaining the FBI’s involvement in the investigation, both to the student body and the local media.

Students were first informed the University had reached out to the FBI in a campus-wide email sent by FSU President F. Javier Cevallos on Nov. 1.

“University police have requested the assistance of the FBI to further evaluate the racist messages and handwriting. Currently ongoing,” the email read.

While Cevallos’ email clearly states it was a request, a month later, local media news organizations reported the University had enlisted the help of the FBI, running misleading  headlines that made it seem as though the FBI was actively involved.     

“FBI helping investigate racist notes at Framingham State University” read one Fox 25   headline. “Framingham State Brings in FBI to Investigate Racist Incidents,” read a headline from Boston Magazine.

We understand the University cannot control how the local media reports on a story, but it would have been wise of President Cevallos to send another campus-wide email to students informing them in more detail exactly how involved – or not involved – the FBI was in the case.

While we recognize the University has been largely transparent about the investigation, not responding to these news reports was a mistake. Many students were appalled to find out that the FBI was, in fact, not involved.

They feel as though they were being lied to.

Additionally, after the Board of Trustees meeting at which interim chief diversity and inclusion officer Millie González announced the FBI was not involved in the investigation, there was no email sent out to students to update them about this new development. Students had to rely on The Gatepost to learn that the FBI wasn’t involved in the investigation at all.

In the future, we hope University administrators do their best to be transparent about investigations of all kind occuring on campus.

We understand that it’s frustrating for administrators to navigate the red tape of the difficult and volatile investigation at hand.

It’s frustrating no one has come forward about the hate crimes.

It’s frustrating that there hasn’t been assistance from other law enforcement agencies.

It’s frustrating that after six hate crimes, there is no resolution.

But administrators must remember that the hate crimes have impacted our entire community and everyone is frustrated. Students, faculty and members of the MetroWest area should be able to expect clarity and transparency from the administration. 

If administrators cannot be trusted to be honest with the community about investigation developments, positive or negative, it will be much harder for students, faculty and staff alike to trust the narrative administrators choose to share.

FSU’s motto is Live to the Truth after all.     

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