STAFF EDITORIAL: Dear Dr. Jo Ann Rooney, A Promise is A Promise

Dr. Jo Ann Rooney’s presidency came to an end on Sept. 30 as Loyola welcomed 25th President Mark C. Reed. Along with leaving the university, she regularly avoided speaking with The Phoenix and left the paper and the student body with many unfulfilled promises. This open letter is addressed to her. 

Dr. Jo Ann Rooney’s presidency came to an end on Sept. 30 as Loyola welcomed 25th President Mark C. Reed. Along with leaving the university, she regularly avoided speaking with The Phoenix and left the paper and the student body with many unfulfilled promises. This open letter is addressed to her. 

Dear Dr. Jo Ann Rooney, 

It’s fair to say we are confused, disappointed and angry that your departure has come and gone while denying almost every interview request from The Phoenix throughout your presidency. Short statements at a men’s basketball event and a sentence about your successor at his appointment ceremony don’t count towards supporting and engaging with student journalism. 

In your inaugural address, you discussed the issue of raising tuition, essentially promising to end Loyola’s persistent trend. You broke that promise.

Since your first year in office, tuition has increased $6,380, The Phoenix reported.

Your former spokesperson verbally promised our staff an interview before you officially stepped down as president. This was another broken promise. 

Our reporters have received numerous cookie-cutter rejections from your communication directors, denying us at every turn. Most recently, “Dr. Rooney’s schedule is already fully booked.” Was four years of waiting not enough?

Having to write you “refused to comment” became all too familiar for our writers over the years of your presidency. After endless attempts of trying to speak with you, we can’t help but ask, “Why?” 

Why was talking to The Phoenix such a scary proposition? Why could you never deny our requests yourself? Why were you continuously willing to sacrifice transparency and accountability on campus to preserve your ego? 

In your farewell email, you thanked the Loyola community for “the collaborations, the debates, and the discussions.” But we weren’t included in any of these exchanges.

You ignored our questions about the tuition increases. You wouldn’t discuss the hiring process for your diversity initiative. When your students and faculty discussed the end of your tenure, you declined to comment.

The Phoenix will never forget the dismissal we received from your administration. We were always looking to discuss the issues facing our school and your lack of cooperation exposed where your priorities stood.

You claimed at the first ceremony for President Reed that you “could not be more grateful for the time that I have been a part of this community,” yet you were never seen on campus except for scheduled events. 

As Loyola’s award-winning student newspaper, our mission has always been to report on the university and all of its intricacies. We interview our peers. We work with the faculty. But we were barred from speaking with you.

Your time at Loyola was filled with highs and lows, but we simply reported the truth. We wrote about the good and the bad. Regardless, every time you declined to comment, you told your own story.

The silence you maintained on the stories we report on — issues directly affecting Loyola’s student body — speaks louder than any press release or heartfelt message to the community could.

So we leave you with one question.

At The Phoenix, the Loyola community is at the forefront of our work. Was it at yours?

Sincerely, 

The Loyola Phoenix Editorial Board

Featured image by Aidan Cahill | The Phoenix

The Phoenix Editorial Board

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