Response to Vice President Rick Bischoff’s Letter to the Editor

Tyler Hoffman, Executive Editor & Publisher

On Wednesday, Feb. 12, the Office of University Marketing and Communications submitted an official university response to last week’s editorial entitled “Selective transparency stains Snyder’s administration.” The submission is attributed to Vice President for Enrollment Management Rick Bischoff, and I am pleased to include it in this week’s edition. After all, the fundamental purpose of The Observer lies in the advancement of conversations about issues affecting the Case Western Reserve University community.

I am personally encouraged to see that, upon reconsideration, the university’s administration chose to make known the figures from which its claim that “applications from underrepresented minorities [in the Class of 2018] climbed 21 percent” was derived. Yet, I am disappointed that administrators released this data only after our editorial appeared and not during The Observer’s multiple attempts to collect this information through reasonable reporting.

The rebuttal also calls into question our claim that President Barbara R. Snyder’s administration is selectively transparent. I would expect nothing less in an official response from the university; the perspective of decision-making administrators is inherently different than that of their constituents.

I can only hope that administrators will begin to expel as much time and energy substantively communicating with the undergraduate student body as they do debating our perceptions. Because, if they do, they might realize that publishing the date of the provost’s only open forum in The Daily four days prior to the event is insufficient. Or, they might understand how closing the feedback portal for the university’s Interim Sexual Misconduct Policy four days after soliciting the Undergraduate Student Government’s feedback comes across as a fake out.

The notion of selective transparency may be subjective, but I believe it can be judged by answering three simple questions: How open do you perceive the university to be about the issues that matter most to you? When you speak your mind, do you expect to be heard? And when you ask an honest question—like we did—do you trust that it will be answered?

Tyler Hoffman
Executive Editor & Publisher

Editor’s Note: This response is in reply to a letter to the editor from the Office of University Marketing and Communications. The letter to the editor can be found online; readers may also find the original editorial, published in issue 18 of The Observer, here.  —Kyle Patterson, Director of Web & Multimedia.