A Stanford Daily article today discussed the continued trials and tribulations of the new Roble Package Center (which I have previously discussed here). It is not the package center’s predicted failures that drew my attention, but this paragraph toward the end of the article:
“On a recent day at the package center, which is open Monday through Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., seven students received their packages without a problem. At one point, the package center employee, who said she was instructed by Housing not to talk to The Daily, called a golf cart to deliver a student’s package to Mirrielees because the package was heavy and the student was on a bike.”
I can understand the need for secrecy at the Pentagon’s package center, but really, is the Roble Package Center under such threat that we need to instruct employees to block media inquiries? To be clear, this person is not even an administrator, but rather a frontline service employee. The fact that this employee was given such instructions speaks much about the administration’s current position on freedom of speech.
We are training future journalists here at Stanford. What message do we send when even the most basic of stories (“Students, Housing adapt to new package center” as the headline goes) are blocked by the administration as if the Pentagon Papers are going to be released?
Here’s a though: maybe if Housing spent a few more minutes thinking through the package center, this kind of “media management” wouldn’t be needed.