Lauren Joffe

Talk about transparency, eh? For all those students who've picketed, protested and begged for university transparency, it looks like is about to blow the lid off of public interest and higher education issues formerly kept on the D-L.

A spinoff of the infamous Australian native Julian Assange's WikiLeaks website, which broadcasts secret government files and news, UniLeaks exposes classified information about higher education and spares no subtleties. After the site debuted in February 2011, open letters were publicly sent to university leaders in both Australia and Great Britain. A letter was posted for American college presidents as well.

"Dear President," the letter begins. "We are a new online project dedicated to publishing information on public interest matters relating to the higher education industry. In essence, a version of Wikileaks aimed at Universities. While initiated in Australia, UniLeaks, like the industry itself, is global in scope. Given the size and centrality of U.S.-based institutions, a primary focus of UniLeaks will be the higher education sector in North America. ..."

UniLeaks is not an open forum. However, anyone is welcome to submit material for consideration. The website's editors carefully filter content and only post information relevant to public interest -- UniLeaks is not a rumor mill, like JuicyCampus or CollegeACB.

According to the website's submission guidelines, "UniLeaks will accept restricted or censored material of political, ethical, diplomatic or historical significance which is in some way connected to higher education. … We absolutely do not accept rumor, opinion, other kinds of firsthand accounts or material that is publicly available elsewhere. It's not news if it has been publicly available elsewhere first, and we are a news organization."

Says a UniLeaks' spokesperson: "We simply don't accept rumor or conjecture. What we want is hard evidence of malfeasance and corruption. If it's not within our guidelines, it is not getting published. That simple!"

But while UniLeaks claims to take its journalism seriously, we have to chuckle when the site's spokesperson is named Captain Kangaroo.

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