Sigma Phi Epsilon has been suspended after reports of hazing in the fraternity. The strange thing, however, is the university’s reluctance to speak up on the issue.

The Bearcat family is tight nit, so a lack of transparency seems disingenuous to say the least. To make matters worse, there are rumors suggesting Delta Sigma Phi and Phi Sigma Kappa are also under investigations for hazing as well. Considering the concealing of Sigma Phi Epsilon’s temporary suspension comes mostly by way of University decision, the secrecy hurts just a bit more.

These potential suspensions only center around something as simple as hazing. Even still, this was apparently deemed too controversial for Bearcats to be made aware of. All kinds of questions crop up after secrecy has light shed on it, but this time around, the question is simple: Why?

Why does a University that should pride itself on honesty always seem to suppress the gunshot that is reports of hazing, rape or public indecency? Northwest’s values, located just under its mission statement, highlights “respect and integrity.” Northwest’s ‘DNA’ includes “being socially responsible.”

What is respectful about purposely keeping information in the shadows? Consistently camouflaging Greek Life discrepancies stands in direct contrast to the definition of ‘integrity,’ and “being socially responsible” is hardly something Northwest seems to be striving toward, at least when it comes to these matters.

If providing “beautiful and safe surroundings” means hiding things from the students who give the campus life, then Northwest needs to reassess.

These reports are at best something the Bearcat ‘family’ should be warned of and at worst crimes that put student well-being at risk. Greek Life complications are few and far between and only represent a minority more often than not, but they still exist and we deserve to know.

Beyond safety and a general need for transparency, students should be allowed to know why events such as Mr. Northwest have been cancelled.

Mr. Northwest is a yearly pageant responsible for adding a feeling of levity to a world that normally takes itself too seriously. Furthermore, Mr. Northwest always manages to rake in thousands of dollars for the Special Olympics. Now, because too many fraternities are facing suspension, the potential good it could have done has been completely wiped away.

Where is the hang up here? If not for digging and the inevitability of word of mouth, this information would not reach the public. Should students just be left in the dark about something affecting the entire Maryville population?

All we ask for is a bit of more professionalism. Word will always get around, especially in a school environment; why keep everything behind closed doors?

Transparency at the university level is not just about staying open about serious problems within campus walls. It is about maintaining the message of “focusing on student success – every student, every day,” and keeping controversy under wraps inhibits this mission.

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