Letter to the Editors of The Tripod

March 6, 2016
 
To the Editors of The Tripod:
 
I am writing in response to material published in The Trinity Tripod on March 1, 2016.  Specifically, I would like to address topics in the article, “Faculty Speaks on Budget,” as well as issues raised in the editorial titled “Trinity’s Problem with Transparency,” both of which were published without affording me or other members of Trinity’s administration an opportunity to provide our perspectives or to correct inaccurate information.
 
The claim that this administration has not been open with the campus community simply isn’t true.  Transparency and open dialogue are of the utmost importance to this administration. We have taken many steps to keep the campus community both informed about the challenges we are facing as an institution, and involved in the discussions about how we will meet those challenges.  Our communications to the campus community (publicly available on Trinity’s website) have been honest about where we stand on issues, and clear about the processes involved in making key decisions. In addition to my letters to the community, we consistently provide opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to offer their input and ideas, such as open forums, surveys, and office hours with the president.  Any assertion that I have banned communication between the faculty and trustees is untrue and is a disservice to the more than 40 faculty members who have given their time to attend meetings of the Board of Trustees over the past year.
 
In regard to the school’s budget and finances, as I wrote in a letter to the Trinity community this past November and reiterated in my open meetings about the budget, achieving financial equilibrium is a strategic priority for the College. The leadership of the College is taking the steps necessary to ensure that we are fiscally balanced across all budgeting areas both in the short-term and long-term. We have been proactive in letting our students, faculty, and staff know where our finances stand and we have invited input from everyone impacted.
 
In closing, an examination of the record will make it clear that we have been open and transparent not just with our students but also the entire Trinity community. Every time I speak with a journalist, whether on or off campus, I endeavor to be responsive to their inquiries and I have conveyed factual information. I look forward to continuing to speak with the media on important campus issues, including The Tripod. I encourage the media to take advantage of this access to become better informed, so they can provide fair, balanced, and accurate reporting to their audiences.
 
Sincerely,
 
Joanne Berger-Sweeney
President and Trinity College Professor of Neuroscience