Openness.psu.edu statement

Penn Staters For Responsible Stewardship Release Statement on Launch of Openness.psu.edu

February 14, 2012 —The Openness.psu.edu website is nothing more than a disappointing and superficial attempt at transparency. Openness cannot simply be a brand for a website; it should be the leadership culture, a pervasive philosophy. Interested parties should not be directed to just one website to presumably learn about disclosures from the University in a compartmentalized way.

Will the next website installment be called Honesty.psu.edu?

If the University learned anything over the last four months, it should have been that transparency should not — and cannot — exist only when it’s convenient. There is no open dialogue present on this new website; no real time engagement. Only a sterile, one-way email address, which smacks of backroom secrecy, review and control. Clearly, nothing has changed. It’s a shame that the leaders of the University are still living in a world of one-way communication, when those days have been long gone.

The members of Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship would like to know if this website can be where alumni lifetime members who have repeatedly asked the Trustees for nomination ballots can post their names and contact information for immediate resolution. There is certainly no “openness” when a growing number of alumni have asked again and again to stand up and be counted, and are being ignored.

And finally, Penn Staters for Responsible Stewardship would like to issue a public challenge of University’s “openness.” We formally request that, since the investment has been made in this website, they use the space to thoroughly feature the bio, platform and photo of every Board of Trustees alumni candidate who has achieved the 50 write-in votes needed to participate in this spring’s election. It is in the University’s best interest to educate its voting alumni, and would go a long way toward demonstrating – not just branding – a commitment to transparency.

Ultimately, actions will speak far louder than words. And today’s version of openness.psu.edu is nothing more than a slick, superficial packaging of carefully controlled words and documents.

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