Editorial: Clarifying The Campus’s role

With the creation of alleghenycampus.com and the controversy surrounding the publication of articles in recent issues of The Campus, it has come to our attention that the role of our newspaper on Allegheny College’s campus, and the role of newspapers worldwide, needs to be clarified.

Newspapers are forums for free speech, and exercising our right of free speech includes publishing unbiased and factual news articles which inform and may or may not challenge the perceptions of the public. Newspapers also run op–eds, which also may or may not be met with opposition.

The intricacies of free speech are less often virulently challenged when it comes to news articles because news is unbiased and consciously represents both sides. While readers may not like what they are reading, news articles are mostly inoffensive on a personal level. (Though, of course, there are exceptions.) The mark of a good news article is that the reader cannot discern the personal views of the journalist who wrote it.

The Editorial and Op–Ed section, however, often comes under fire become of misconceptions about its place and role in the paper because these rules do not necessarily apply.

To clarify, editorials are the only part of a newspaper which represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board. However, op–ed pieces are not editorials; they are the opinions of the people who wrote them.

As such, op–eds published in the Opinion Section of The Campus do not necessarily reflect the ideologies of the editors, nor should they be expected to.

The word “op–ed” is abbreviated from “opposite the editorial page.” In most regular newspapers, the editorial and letters to the editor are published on one page with op–eds on the page facing.

Due to space constraints, The Campus publishes op–eds from members of the community on the same page as the editorial and letters to the editor. This spacing does not alter the fact that the editorial still remains the only place in The Campus the voices of the editors are heard.

In short, the job of The Campus newspaper’s Op-Ed Section is provide a space for students, alumni, faculty and community members to voice their opinions on news or subjects they find important and pertinent.

As stated earlier, this does not mean that The Campus endorses the views put forth in those articles. The role of the paper is to give people a forum to voice their opinions and not to censor, regardless of personal beliefs.

With that said, there is a line between respectful debate and a blatant disregard for the views and feelings of others. Purposefully offending or using terminology or analogies meant merely to insult is not tolerated or condoned by The Campus and its editors.

The Campus firmly follows and stands by Allegheny College’s Statement of Community, which is printed at the end of both of this week’s editorials.

All editorials represent the majority opinion of the Editorial Board.

The Campus welcomes all reader response. We reserve the right to reject  or edit letters not meeting standards or space requirements (maximum 400 words).  The deadline for submission for letters is 5 p.m. the Monday before publication. Letters must be typed, signed and sent to Box 12, with a phone number included for verification. All questions should be directed to Kristin Baldwin, editor–in–chief.

Allegheny College’s Statement of Community

Allegheny students and employees are committed to creating an inclusive, respectful and safe residential learning community that will actively confront and challenge racism, sexism, heterosexism, religious bigotry, and other forms of harassment and discrimination. We encourage individual growth by promoting a free exchange of ideas in a setting that values diversity, trust and equality. So that the right of all to participate in a shared learning experience is upheld, Allegheny affirms its commitment to the principles of freedom of speech and inquiry, while at the same time fostering responsibility and accountability in the exercise of these freedoms. This statement does not replace existing personnel policies and codes of conduct.