Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

Independent Student Newspaper of UW Oshkosh Campuses

The Advance-Titan

University needs to communicate to students, community members

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University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt sent an email on January 18 to all UWO students and employees regarding the recent events that transpired between UWO and the UWO Foundation.

While it was great that the University informed the UWO community right away about what was going on, there has hardly been any information given out since the original statement regarding improper financial transactions relating to the Foundation.

After a lawsuit was filed, Leavitt proceeded to inform the UWO community about what was happening via his email. Since then, the University has been silent.
Leavitt said the University cannot release information regarding the lawsuit at this time.

“Because of the pending litigation, I cannot comment at all on this case, nor have I to any of the news media,” Leavitt said. “At this point the system is handling this part.”

This silent treatment from the University is unfair to all UWO students, faculty members and workers who make up a great part of the UWO community.

It is the responsibility of the University to keep students, faculty and the general community updated on these events, as the subject is a concern to all parties who could be impacted by the outcome.

Funds for scholarships, athletic programs and building projects could all be affected if the Foundation files for bankruptcy.

UWO freshman Amanda Peterson said communication from the University should be expected if the situation directly impacts students.

“I think that if it gets to the point where things directly affect us, then we as paying students definitely deserve to know everything,” Peterson said. “But if it stays at the point where there is a lot going on but it does not directly affect our education or our programs that we’re paying for, then they should have the right to keep us on a need-to-know basis.”

Not only could a possible bankruptcy affect UWO students, but it could also have an impact on the University as a whole.

Jamie Ceman, the chief communications officer for UWO, had no comment regarding the situation because the University does not want to “inadvertently impede the [Department of Justice’s] litigation of the case.”

Although the public is able to remain informed on this topic through local news organizations, it is important for the University to be as open as possible with the community as well. The University has a more direct link to the Foundation than news outlets do. They can also give the public more accurate information, as was evidenced by Leavitt’s statement.

If the University opens up communication with the general public, there can be less confusion and more understanding about what is going on right now regarding the Foundation.

Although it is possible the University is wary of releasing any statements until they have more information themselves, it is still important to keep the public updated with what they currently know, and about what exactly the present situation is regarding the Foundation.

We understand that at this time, the University cannot release any information to the public because of the litigation. However, if there is a chance that student scholarships or athletic programs could be affected by the lawsuit, then the community deserves to know.

The University did right in staying ahead of the storm and releasing a statement as soon as the matter became public knowledge.

Getting a statement out right away was important, but it is also crucial for the University to continue its communication with the UWO community.

The University must remain forthcoming, just as it was when the issue originally surfaced. Although there could be negative outcomes following this incident, such as the Foundation filing for bankruptcy, it is more important for the University to be open about what is going on than to keep people in the dark.

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