Kwantlen president slams The Runner

Our story about Kwantlen’s disappearing Southlands report prompted an outburst from KPU president John McKendry.

By The Runner

During the June 25 Kwantlen senate meeting, university president John McKendry publicly stated that The Runner’s recent Southlands story was inaccurate (Kwantlen buries review of alleged ethical violations, May 8). McKendry did not point to specific errors within the story, but instead used the forum to make allegations about our reporting.

Kwantlen Polytechnic University's president, John McKendry. (Photo courtesy Kwantlen)

During the meeting, only senate members are allowed to speak, meaning no response from The Runner could have been given, nor could further questions have been asked regarding the story or the allegations. We were unable to respond or defend our reporting.

McKendry’s use of the senate to make a political attack against the student press is nothing less than grandstanding and is embarrassing. The Runner represents the student voice on campus and is an instrument for informed dialogue. We serve the students and they deserve unhindered access to the administration that provides them their education while they’re here. To dismiss The Runner is to dismiss the student body as a whole.

When our paper originally sought comment on the Southlands story, the university communications department declined to answer our questions or to participate in the story. It is common practice for all questions to be directed to the communications department. If there are errors in our reporting, KPU chose not to clarify or correct them when given the opportunity.

At no point since the piece was published in May has the president’s office contacted our paper, either to point out any errors or to ask us to make a correction. It is unfortunate then that McKendry chose to make these allegations during the senate meeting. It shows a troubling disregard for the student press, for student involvement – for students in general – on McKendry’s behalf.

We stand behind our story as it was reported. If there were inaccuracies or errors in our story, we would gladly address them and publish a retraction or correct the story, given the opportunity.

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