(Your Opinion Here)

By Hannah Bristol

As editors of the Campus, we strive to make this newspaper accessible to and representative of the student body. We strive to encompass all voices on campus and give voices to those who might otherwise feel marginalized. This has been our goal from the start — just the opposite from what beyond the green wrote about the Campus in last week’s issue, saying “we are motivated to create beyond the green because we feel marginalized and silenced by the mainstream platforms available, including the student newspaper, the Campus.”

Yet, we publish every oped that is submitted as long as it is not libelous, hearsay or vulgar. We respond to all emails when students have questions or submit news tips. We constantly push ourselves to include more perspectives and make this a representative voice of student body.

We see beyond the green as filling a niche by giving a voice and a gathering space for the perspectives that are often marginalized and are glad they are writing a column in our pages to highlight these perspectives. However, we question the way they framed this need in their oped, “A Collective of Middlebury Voices.”

Yes, the Opinions section is not representative of the spectrum of opinions that exist on this campus, but we have made a conscious effort to reach out to a large swath of people all year, sitting down to lunch and chatting about how we think their voices are important and need to be reflected in these pages. Even when people do not want to submit regular columns, we have worked with them to draft opeds and let their voices be heard. While these efforts have not always panned out, we have been constantly engaging with all who want to engage with us. We also acknowledge the fact that the editorial board is not currently representative of the diversity of backgrounds and experiences here at the College. It is a problem that is on every one of our editors’ minds. In fact, we just sent out our all school email encouraging anyone to apply for editor positions for the coming year. This is an open opportunity and we hope that people who believe that the Campus is not representing their views to apply and help broaden perspectives on the board.

Given the effort we are putting in to create a much more nuanced and representative Editorial Board and Opinions section, this is a two-way street, and while we have tried to reach out, we have not seen the same engagement back. We are being accused of ignoring a spectrum of politics, yet one of the first attempts at expressing these politics in the Campus was in this oped. What we want in our paper and what beyond the green wants for this campus is not that different. We want people to feel comfortable expressing themselves. We want open and inclusive dialogue. We want to be a catalyst for change.

beyond the green also wrote that our “politics are not transformative,” but all year, we have strived to write progressive and transformative editorials. From looking for ways to bring down the comprehensive fee and make the College more accessible to decrying the normalization of proctoring and giving recommendations to strengthen the honor code to asking It Happens Here to rethink its advertising because their strategy was triggering for some rape victims, we have fought to change this campus to be more accessible and safer for everyone here.

As a student newspaper, we are community journalism in its  purest sense. We can only be as strong as people chose to engage with us. We only learn about events through word of mouth and can only publish the opinions that are submitted. We want to provide a safe space for discussion on issues plaguing this campus. As facilitators, we do not suppress any of the opinions we receive. If all is done right, the Campus should be a mirror reflecting what is happening on campus. If you do not like this image, you have no one to blame but yourself. Being proactive and not reactive requires taking the reins, not only by creating your own forum but also by engaging in existing ones. At the end of the day, we are one of the most widely read and distributed publications on campus and are able to touch a diverse group of people, from students and alumni to faculty and staff. We want your opinions, but we are not mind readers. We cannot reflect what you want to see unless you participate.

Artwork by JENA RITCHEY

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