Over the past couple of years here at The Gatepost, many editorials and opinions have been written regarding the lack of effective and clear communication from University administrators and police.
As students, we have repeatedly heard from multiple faculty and staff members that the University operates in silos, that every department and office has difficulty communicating with each other, and subsequently, with the student body.
An incident last Monday involving a Black student and FSUPD in the Dining Commons – which has yet to be officially acknowledged or addressed by the University – was on full display in front of many students.
It’s safe to say the general consensus from other students who witnessed the altercation believe the behavior and response of FSUPD to the student to have been racially motivated.
Regardless of whether this is true, the University has neither officially confirmed nor denied this possibility, much less addressed this issue at all.
Despite the details of the situation, to elicit such a strong response from the student body, both on and off social media, begs the question: What can University staff and faculty do to have a better relationship – or any relationship at all – with the population it serves?
We continue to ask: where is the official statement? The email notification from an administrator? The notice from University Police that states there is an ongoing investigation?
There needs to be clear communication from each and every department, for the sole reason that each and every person in the University’s administrative body has a duty to the students to report with accuracy, clarity, and transparency.
We, from a journalistic perspective, understand the limitations under which police officers may be placed with regards to how much information can be released about any particular incident, especially if it is an ongoing investigation.
But we, from civilian and student perspectives, also demand that police officers be as transparent and approachable as possible.
If problems – no matter the severity of them – continue to go unaddressed with factual information, rumors and inaccuracies will continue to spread like wildfire instead.
Even if we absolutely must first get the watered-down jargony PR version because we can’t be told all the facts, we at least want to know we are worthy of being acknowledged as people who deserve to know the truth when it can be released.
When the string of racial hate crimes occurred over the past few years, there were many concerns raised regarding the release of information available to the student body. Because administrators were ineffectual in conveying the messages, misinformation spread like wildfire.
Our news article regarding the aforementioned Dining Hall incident signaled to some that The Gatepost had more information than other students, or even faculty members – regardless of how incomplete or cryptic it might have been. This is only because we went sleuthing for it, as is our job.
And it’s been nearly two entire weeks since it occurred. Two weeks without notice. Two weeks, and not a word has been made publicly from those who made promises to serve the student body.
This radio silence from authority figures at this University has completely disrupted the professional, yet comfortable environment that is supposed to be our college campus.
We deserve to be updated on investigations that directly affect our campus community.
We deserve to know that FSU’s administrators, who are meant to serve us, recognize these issues.
We deserve to feel safe and respected in our community.
We are not asking for every detail, but we deserve to be heard.
We demand more communication and accountability.
As administrators and University police, you work for the students of this university. It is time you start taking your roles seriously, because for the better part of four years, we have spent our lives here.
You get to go home at night.
This is our home.