The Merriam–Webster English dictionary defines transparent as “characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices.”
The Humber Students’ Federation (HSF) represents more than 27, 000 students from Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber. Its financial website says that “[it] is committed to financial transparency”. When journalism students at the Lakeshore campus request access to information regarding insurance coverage for all students, there is no transparency.
“Fill out a media request form, you will not get any quotes or any information from us,” said one receptionist at the K-building, the HSF facility at Lakeshore.
As students, we should be able to see the transparency HSF mentions. We should be able to have the information we request regarding important issues, such as number of insurance claims per year, number of students taking advantage of the coverage, and specifics regarding the different claims students file with HSF.
Every Humber College student pays for Health and Dental insurance coverage as part of their tuition. Basic coverage can be upgraded for free if you are a first year student, and for a fee otherwise.
Several students Skedline interviewed said they had no idea they were covered. They said they had no information regarding the operations of HSF, apart from the music playing and party like lunches happening quite often on the second floor of the L-building.
Financial specifics and statistics should not be open to the general public, but it should be available to Humber students. Approaching HSF as a student instead of as a media outlet, the response was the same.
“We do not have any information anyways, there is no way to know,” said the receptionist. “Just fill out the form and we will direct it to the person in charge.”
Students have a right to this information. We have the right to make informed decisions. Especially if it is our insurance coverage, and our health and dental coverage. If we expect have access to non-sensible information from government and private institutions, shouldn’t we expect the same from HSF, the body that represents and advocates for us?
Transparency is indispensable. Details of all activities and programs HSF offers should be transparent to all Humber students, including transparency in all the information requests that do not compromise legal boundaries.