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Letter to the Editor
As an alumna of Quinnipiac University, I am appalled at President John Lahey’s comments at a recent Student Government Association meeting.
Lahey is concerned that any public meeting at the school is a “press conference to the world.” He feels it is risky to speak publicly with students when any sort of student media is present.
Well, he is just going to have to face it. A public meeting is public. Any media organization has the right to attend the meeting, and any media organization attending the meeting has a right to report on the meeting. This is how other students stay informed about what is going on at the university.
Because Quinnipiac is privately owned, Lahey thinks that free speech does not concern him. “This is not a first amendment issue,” he said. Well, he is wrong.
Through his comments, Lahey is teaching current Quinnipiac students several things: It is okay to have secret meetings. It is okay to withhold information from the media. It is okay for the person in charge to control all information. Does this sound like a democracy to you?
Lahey’s mistrust of the media goes back many, many years. The media doesn’t get things right, in his view, which he stated clearly in front of several hundred parents during a parents’ weekend event in 2002.
If Lahey is so concerned about being misquoted, perhaps he should learn to speak without putting his foot in his mouth. He is the president of a large university. As such, he should learn to speak well and mean what he says. If he is honest and well-spoken, there should be no concern about being misquoted.
A university should give students a preview of real life, where media exists to serve the people as a watchdog of the government. It has never been, nor should it be, a public relations service reporting only good news.
The media should not be controlled by any form of government. It should be free to investigate and report on things that matter. If there is no free press, there can be no progress.
Perhaps Lahey should consider the fact that the School of Communications is a big part of the university. Many current communications students and alumni are big fans of free speech. By making comments about private meetings and negative press, Lahey has offended a large group of potential contributors to the university. I cannot speak for other students or alumni, but Lahey’s comments and treatment of the student media at Quinnipiac University is certainly not making this alumna want to donate any money back to the school.