Seeking truth

To the editor:

I respect Renate Mai-Dalton for her laudable work at Kansas University but strongly disagree with her letter of Oct. 30. What she labels as “persecution” of certain KU administrators by the Journal-World is, rather, a relentless search for the truth by a respected journalist.

In my years as co-director of KU’s International Center for Ethics in Business, I observed many battles for the truth between those in power and those whom they allege to serve. Too often those in power keep the truth from others who have a right to know, sometimes because they just don’t trust others with the truth, sometimes because they haven’t yet figured out what the truth is, and sometimes for more nefarious reasons.

The role of the free press is to print the truth. Sometimes those in power trust others. They are open, honest and trustworthy. Unfortunately, sometimes they don’t trust us enough to be candid; they scold us when we persist in questioning their deeds and motives. We give in to their hectoring at our peril.

So I applaud the editor for his efforts to seek the truth. Professor Mai-Dalton questions his motives. No mystery: He is simply doing his duty as a responsible journalist to ask questions, even if people don’t want to answer them.

The role of the university is to seek the truth (research) and disseminate it (teaching). When university leaders instead obfuscate the truth, they ought to be challenged rather than protected, even if their football team is undefeated.

Joe Reitz,