If you’ve been reading the Oracle, the St. Petersburg Times, the Tampa Tribune or kept an eye on the local news channels since the start of the school year, you will have noticed that USF has been mentioned quite a few times: Two USF students arrested and indicted for terrorism-related charges; an instructor in the department of fine arts indicted for child molestation; a student government president caught with alcohol in his office; shortfalls in campus security; and cuts in funding to the Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute.
Less, it seems, was mentioned about the University’s receipt of $1.3 million to combat AIDS in India, SG’s funding of a Chinese language and culture institute, or kudos for USF in the US News & World Report.
It wouldn’t be a stretch for a reader to think that purely negative things are getting face time, whereas the truly good things about USF are neglected. It may also appear that the Oracle has an agenda to make the University look bad. Neither is the case.
Rather, we act in keeping with the watchdog role all newspapers play in a free society.
We reported on former SG president Barclay Harless and the misallocation of resources in SG’s SafeTeam project because students should know if the student activities fees they pay – which fund both the program and SG staffers’ salaries – are being used inappropriately. Students should also know if whistleblowers are being fired for speaking out – which would have been the case had current SG president Garin Flowers signed the terminations written in the last moments of Harless’ leadership.
We reported on short staffing in University Police because students should know if the force that serves to protect them has barely enough officers to patrol the campus at night.
We covered the yet-uncaught serial rapist who’s attacked women in the University area and a rash of bike thefts because students should know to protect themselves, either by using the ‘buddy-system’ to travel campus at night, locking doors and windows or buying a better bike lock.
And we also reported on the students indicted on terrorism charges and the instructor indicted on molestation charges because the students, faculty and staff who make up the USF community are directly
The Oracle supplies information – positive and negative – to students because they have a right to be informed of events that affect them. Hopefully, we also supply the information required to fix problems.