Tripod Editorial: On Administrative Comment

The Tripod holds a responsibility to provide the student body and greater Trinity community with information that they may not be able to obtain elsewhere. In order to do so, the Editorial Board, writers, and Executive Editorial Board members must maintain constant contact with professors, members of the administration, and the President’s Office to ensure that we are providing readers with the most accurate information in a timely manner. This task grows even more difficult when a struggle to receive responses from  authority figures at the College becomes apparent.  

Requests for comments are at times met with indirect answers or selective avoidance. At times, the College refuses to acknowledge blatant contradictions between the emails it communicates and the realities of campus.

High ranking officials at an elite liberal arts College should anticipate inquiries from, at the very least, their student-run newspaper.  Those inquiries may come at inconveinent times and on the weekends: such is the way of the world. Adults existing in executive roles may not set aside their tasks in the midst of a pandemic merely because the calendar insists it is a Sunday morning. 

Further, Trinity, as with other institutions, faces scrutiny from established national newspapers and seems able to respond to these requests for comment promptly, oftentimes overnight. The decision of when to respond–and if at all–is a matter of priority. The College places the Courant ahead of the Tripod. Such, then, may be the way of the world, but this decision speaks volumes to the editors of this publication. 

While we may ask a myriad of questions and the task of response may seem burdensome, that is the solemn charge and responsibility of those in leadership receive significant and adequate compensation for their work. Woe to he who makes $280,000 and must reply to emails on the weekend. 

Take, for instance, a recent email to the College community from Dean of Students Joe Christina addressing the College’s updated COVID-19 alert level. That email and its acknowledgement of  “requests for more information about when the dashboard will be updated each week” provided a response to questions the Tripod had pressed since August. 

This example is but one of many occurrences that we have encountered throughout our time with the paper.  

We have no doubt that the College makes an effort to respond and that these administrators remain busy. We are grateful for what information we can glean. 

But when we are told administrators are busy, let us not forget that so, too, are we busy with our study of academics and the production of this paper. So, too, is the doctor busy in their work. And the lawyer. And the accountant. To attempt to  suggest that one is “busier” than another misses the mark. Adults are obliged to manage our time as we see fit.  

The College may surely elect to respond as it pleases, but should know that the Tripod will not wait for its  employees to find space in their schedules to permit response. The news waits for  no man. The Tripod can and should be a priority of the highest degree for this institution for the sake of its student, faculty, and alumni readership to whom we remain steadfastly committed. 

-The Trinity Tripod 

bclark

Brendan W. Clark '21 is the current Editor-in-Chief of the Trinity Tripod, Trinity College's student newspaper.

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