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On Transparency and Optics

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Yeah this really isn’t the way to do it...........

Vanderbilt Commodores Photo by Vanderbilt/Collegiate Images via Getty Images

I wrote a few weeks back about how Vanderbilt deals with the public, in that they basically enjoy the warm comfort of the sand around them and pretend nothing else is going on as opposed to face any difficult questions. As I said then, public comment can be a damned if you do, damned if you don’t endeavor for a private institution. Of course, at that time, we were mostly dealing with issues that seem trivial when compared to the happenings of the past two weeks, like when are you improving the football locker room or even attempting to highlight what you plan to do about the aging facilities?

Now, however, things have taken a very very drastic turn, and to say that the decisions that have been made over the last two weeks have been optically poor is about the most generous way that I can put it.

First, you have what Adam Sparks unearthed to be a gigantic mishandling of a situation. I won’t go too far into the nitty gritty of that scandal (and yes I call it a scandal), but the truth of the matter is that the picture that has been painted is ugly, and it involves people who are in high ranking positions of the athletic department. (*Not even highlighting certain other events that emerged as they only occurred yesterday).

What is the response from the University? Well, let’s just get rid of Athletic Communications altogether, making a bunch of very loved and well-respected people unemployed in the middle of an unprecedented pandemic.

I mean how completely tone-deaf can you be? How completely out of touch can you be?

This action, quite rightfully, spurred a great deal of questions about what is going on here. And while I understand the importance of your public word in handling these type of situations, we’ve passed the point where you can’t say anything at all. That is, if you want to keep the support of just about everyone.

UPDATE: Vanderbilt has now posted a response to the news on the athletic communications department. Thanks to @SimonGibbs26, @chrislee70, and @MikeOrganWriter for the update. Thanks to me for figuring out how to do an embed!