So where’s the rest of the story?


Sarah Lentz, Opinion Editor


For newspapers like this one, it’s frustrating when you actively seek out both sides of a story yet only get one. We strive to look at every angle of a story. When situations on campus happen, we want and need both sides.

Unfortunately, that’s not been a luxury we always get, and it seems like each semester brings a new fight for transparency.

Last semester, we had problems getting the presidential search committee’s side of that story. Stan Carpenter, chancellor of the Nebraska State College System (NSCS), banned anyone on the committee from speaking with us. But hey, at least we learned how to file Freedom of Information Act requests.

This semester we are trying to get the complete picture of what’s going on with Dr. Karen Walker.

It’s a personnel issue that no one’s at liberty to discuss. The NSCS (you know, the same one we had to file FOIA requests to) union rep told everyone to keep quiet.
We always get a little suspicious when anyone pulls the “no comment” card so early.

Obviously, there’s an issue. A well-loved, and more importantly, tenured faculty member was removed from campus mid-semester.

Don’t her students have the right to know why? If the problem is so serious it warrants dismissal, why be so hush hush and demand others follow suit?

This is a sign of a more systemic issue that’s hit Wayne State College.
It appears to us that somehow a culture of fear has swept through the staff and faculty.

We can’t be sure where the source comes from, but it seems like we have more and more staff and faculty members turn down invitations to talk to the media because they’re worried they may say the wrong thing and the consequences could be great, like tenured-professor-removed-from-campus great.

We’ve seen it first-hand working on stories that should not create that type of fearful response.

Even when talking about simple policy changes, members of academia hem and hah over how to phrase the simplest thing, because according to them, “Well, I have to be careful what I say.”

Why are faculty and staff feeling so much pressure? Is it coming from administration? Is it caused by the whistle-blower hotline installed for faculty and staff to anonymously report possible rule-breaking to the NSCS?

We don’t know the answer but hope something changes. Perhaps it’s just because we have the privilege of talking to staff and faculty about both good and bad newsworthy events that happen on campus, but we have felt the collective WSC non-student community tense up lately, and it makes us uneasy.

Last week I heard about a student who was overheard talking about Dr. Walker’s mysterious removal, and an administrator said something to the effect of that if students knew the whole story, they wouldn’t be so quick to show Walker such support.

Fair enough, tell the whole story then.

People will inevitably jump to conclusions when vital pieces of information are missing.

We hope that the person who believed that students would feel differently if they had the whole story knows that we at The Wayne Stater would love nothing more than to be able to report that side as well, and let our readers make up their own minds.