A healthy dose of skepticism is an indispensable tool in everyday life, especially when people in positions of power make lofty claims without citing any sources. And even if they do cite sources, you should always be a little skeptical and attach an asterisk* to them, as the truth will never be as simple as they make it out to be.
For example, look at the recent Kansan article, 'What has Crimson+Blue done to maintain its campaign promises?'
“At this point in the year, we have a higher number of completed platforms than just about any administration that I’ve seen,” Senate Chief of Staff Zach Thomason said in the article.
Thomason goes on to claim that infrastructure improvements on campus stemmed from his administration’s efforts.
There should be an asterisk on that claim, considering the fact that the majority of recent infrastructure improvements happened over the summer before the fall semester started and before the current Senate administration could get to work.
It would be a stretch to claim that the University of Kansas took on such an ambitious road improvement project because some students used the issue as a talking point and were sworn in weeks before the project began. These extensive infrastructure projects — I would hope — take more than a month to be vetted and approved.
So would it be ethical for Senate to take credit for the filled-in Daisy Hill potholes and repaved roads? It would be just as ethical as putting your name on someone else’s paper. In class, I have been led to believe that this is plagiarism, but I guess an opinion columnist is held to a higher standard than Senate, considering that I have to provide sources and links to claims that I make.
When asking what Crimson+Blue has done to maintain its campaign promises, one should use a healthy dose of skepticism. Every claim should have had an asterisk or some sort of explanation or fact checking effort beside it.
It is the responsibility of journalists, such as those writing for the Kansan, to hold our officials accountable to possible lies or exaggerations.
This is why I will be doing my best to look into all ten of Crimson+Blue’s campaign promises, double checking to see if they were actually finished, left half-baked, or if they are still just an idea in some committee.
But you, the reader, should also look into my claims and my sources. I am already an outspoken critic of Senate and I have raised concerns about its legitimacy and ethics before, so do not take my word as gospel.
I hope you will join me in the coming months as I continue this project and I hope you will use just as critical an eye on my writing as I use on Senate’s lofty claims.
Wesley Cudney is a sophomore from Wichita studying political science and journalism.