Editor’s Note: The following letter has been given to The Review by the University of Delaware PRSSA so that it may be more widely read by the broader university community.
To the University of Delaware administration:
We are writing to you as concerned Blue Hens who recognize the efforts you are making to regain students’ trust in the administration.
Our executive board members were disappointed in your response to the university community regarding the two main incidents that occurred last month. We feel a sense of responsibility to speak up and offer proactive steps that could be taken in the future should another situation arise.
As the university’s chapter of the Public Relations Student Society of America and aspiring public relations practitioners, we would like to offer some advice.
This advice comes not as a criticism of efforts already taken but instead as an opportunity to increase transparency and minimize the gap between the administration and student body.
As a new month begins, we ask that you consider the four efforts listed below in your communication responses moving forward:
- Take the clear, strong stance
→ Instead of taking the factual approach and informing us of others’ rights, be more empathetic and communicate your values directly. This ensures students’ feelings are acknowledged and the university’s priorities are understood.
- Act quick, act smart
→ Saying nothing is a statement, and assumptions form quickly when a lack of communication from the university exists. Control the conversation, even if it’s just acknowledging the event, so students feel secure.
- Include student voices in university communication
→ Continue your efforts to engage with diverse voices that represent our student body to bring a refreshing and current perspective on social justice issues. Consider meeting with student leaders before releasing a statement so you have a clear view of the student body’s perspective.
- Communicate frequently
→ Be transparent by following up on incidents, and do not leave students in the dark once you have updated information. Consider coordinating with the University of Delaware Police Department (UDPD) so students do not have to go searching on their own for important information.
We hope you can appreciate our intentions in sharing our concerns as students. We want the university’s values to be portrayed accurately and believe these suggestions will help do so in the future.
Rachel Ornstein, Neha Shanker, Mackenzie Meyer, Lia Hyman, Evelyn Zanowski, Rebecca Kazenoff, Danielle Raskin, Stella Galli, Kaitlyn Bonk