Last week, this board discussed the suspect timing of how the plans for Silent Sam are going to be announced. This week we decided to throw our University’s administration in with a broader, unfortunate trend in the country and, for all we know, worldwide.
All too often, powerful organizations tend to announce major and/or controversial news in periods of recess or over holidays. We would state that this practice, in some cases, may be somewhat well intended, but in most cases the practice of selective announcement timing is cowardice. Citizens and organizational members deserve news as soon as it can be made available. Hiding the truth almost always simply delays the inevitable.
In any event, selective announcement timing requires subjective judgment as to how much one knows better than the people that will eventually get the information. This is a fuzzy principle by which to conduct oneself. A better, clear principle is simply telling the truth and giving the news when it comes available. Let the people decide how to react to it.
Talk to enough people, and the practice of selective announcement timing will come up in anecdotes across occupations and organizations. Health insurance companies, for example, will announce reduction in provider payscales just before Christmas. As exemplified in the recent buyout of Red Hat, companies will often announce tender offers over the weekend to minimize stock volatility and let pricing information sink into the market. Seasonal resorts will announce unpopular development plans or controversial hires and fires off-season. University administrations, with so much periodic inactivity spaced throughout the year, seem to highly value these windows of opportunity where they can drop a pebble in a pond with the smallest ripple possible.
This board would be willing to claim that faculty and students won’t come back to campus to protest anything in the middle of summer, or while home for the holidays. This of course is what University administrators count on.