Our View: Accountability is vital, SGA disagrees based on recent actions

Every week the editorial board reflects on a current issue in Our View. The position taken does not reflect the opinions of everyone on the Hilltop Views staff. This week the editorial board are Viewpoints editors Erin Downey and Eleanor Fishbourne and Print Editor-in-Chief Jacob Sanchez.

With the Student Government Association’s decision to abolish its accountability codes, the editorial board thought it would be a good idea to show how Hilltop Views keeps itself and the people it covers accountable. Accountability is extremely important for any professional organizations and is an issue that needs to be addressed here on campus.

Hilltop Views has ethics and guidelines that every reporter and editor follows. When someone breaks our ethics while reporting, the editors pull the reporter off of the story, especially if it is a news story.

We value honesty at Hilltop Views, especially in our reporting. If we make a mistake we are all held responsible and we work to make sure it does not happen again.

In News, we report the facts and how things are; not the way people would like them to be. Sometimes the facts are not in one person or another’s favor. Facts are facts, we just report them in an unbiased fashion.

When mistakes happen, we correct ourselves and let readers know that we made a mistake. That is one way to hold ourselves accountable.

If a reporter has a conflict of interest with a story, we do not let him or her cover that issue. For example, if a reporter is close friends with a member of a club that Hilltop Views is covering the reporter would not be allowed to cover it.

Another form of accountability is how reporters and editors refrain from posting opinions about issues, events, organizations and people the newspaper covers on their personal social media accounts. Everyone on staff is told to treat their social media as if it is public — even if the account is private.

This accountability even extends to telling sources before an interview that you are a reporter for Hilltop Views and that you’re recording the interview, as long as the source and reporter agree.

When issues arise with Hilltop Views’ ethics and guidelines the editors come together to make a decision to solve the dilemma. We take these issues very seriously and if needed, we will let go of a staff member who is unable to follow our simple rules.

Every newspaper that reports on a governmental body strives to keep those people accountable for their actions. At Hilltop Views we try to keep St. Edward’s University, SGA and other groups accountable for their actions by covering what they do.

When Hilltop Views found out the problems that plague adjunct professors on campus we covered it and let all involved speak out and explain the situation. Same goes for SGA, especially now that they have no accountability codes to speak for.

Within this problem of SGA no longer holding their members responsible for their actions, they have also done away with performance reviews.

This is a problem because last semester, eight members failed their performance review. Could this mean that they are abolishing performance reviews because the members would not pass them? All of these factors seem inconsistent and inspire suspicion into what our Student Government really stands for.

In the absence of those codes there are two institutions to keep SGA accountable: Hilltop Views and the students. It is our responsibility to report on these issues and anything that infringes upon St. Edward’s mission and the needs of the students being governed.

Hilltop Views will strive to do the very best to hold SGA — and the university as a whole — accountable. Now it’s time for students to rise up and tell their student-elected leaders what they think about SGA so that SGA, for once, actually does the will of the people.