FROM THE EDITORS’ DESK: Dialogue should be encouraged, not stifled

In the past few weeks, The Campus has received an increasing number of submissions to our opinion pages, representing a wide variety of views and addressing a broad range of subjects.

Our initial excitement at this, however, quickly turned to distress at the way in which those opinions have been received by our campus community.

We have heard from several people who were courageous in voicing their opinions that they have been intimidated enough by their peers to stop them from writing again. We have heard of several more people who would like to share their opinions with the community but who don’t wish to provoke the level of animosity that previous writers have faced.

While we always encourage intellectual debate, criticism and questioning, we do not endorse the harassment of individuals for their personal beliefs. We recognize that contradictory, even aggressive responses are trials that opinion writers everywhere must face. However, we ask our peers to remember that we are part of a very unique type of community: a college campus. Our comments and actions on this campus make a much larger impact on our peers than they might in a larger community.

We do not publish opinion pieces for their shock value or to incite malice against their authors. We publish them with the hope of enriching the education experience we have all come here to receive, to challenge each other to grow as individuals and as community members.

We were surprised by the number of comments on our online comment forums in particular suggesting that the Campus neglects its duty to journalistic integrity by publishing a student opinion that many disagree with.

We at The Campus neither endorse nor oppose any of the student opinions that we publish. What we do endorse is a student body that has opinions and a student body that feels free to share those opinions – whatever they may be – in open forum for discussion.

What we oppose is a stifling of ideas, particularly on a small campus in which fear of retribution via destructive, aggressive feedback can prevent students from engaging in the dialogue that they should feel entitled to.

Instead, we hope that students, faculty, and all members of the Allegheny College community past and present will use the space that we work hard to maintain here, and that they will use it to grapple with issues that we all face daily.

We hope that students will feel welcome in presenting their ideas in The Campus, and that dissenting peers will likewise feel welcome in challenging those ideas in a healthy and productive way.

We stand by our decision to publish pieces representative of every kind of student opinion, and we invite you to submit letters to the editor according to our specified guidelines.

When we receive them, we will read them and we will print them, because that is what we are here to do.