(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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14 Comments

14 Responses to “(Your Opinion Here)”

  1. Midd Kidd on April 17th, 2014 1:19 am

    I think when beyond the green is talking about being silenced by mainstream platforms, including the Campus, they’re not really saying that the editorial staff has censored (other than some iffy edits here and there) their words, but more that other articles in the newspaper, and the pressure of writing a certain way and to a certain audience, which is reinforced by the Campus (but not necessarily by any individual editors), is silencing.

  2. Don't Kid Midd on April 19th, 2014 1:36 pm

    Agreed, except that on several occasions those “edits here and there” have been far more than “iffy”

  3. midd-dood on April 23rd, 2014 5:39 pm

    the Campus is not silencing anyone. It’s editors have worked hard for years to provide a platform, vis-a-vis the opinions section, for anyone looking to make their voice heard. As mentioned in the article, articles submitted to the campus will be published as long as the opinions are not “libelous, heresay, or vulgar.” Inherently, then, there will be opinions that do not reflect your own. This is not the mistake of the editors, but rather, a result of the diversity of opinions at Middlebury. To criticize the Campus for not representing the entire student body is ludicrous. In fact, it seems a bit hypocritical to condemn the Campus for it’s editorials while simultaneously claiming to be silenced yourself.

    The paper must report on relevant events and issues on Campus with journalistic integrity (ie without bias). This is the news section of the paper. Accordingly, the Campus’ large influence did not appear out of thin air, through repeated editorial after editorial, but rather through a consistent dedication to the combination of both fact and opinion. The paper is a culmination of years of hard work and research. If you want a platform to further a unique opinion, forge your own path, by all means. MiddBeat is much more open sourced, admittedly, but also less reliant on research gathering and reporting. But as a school newspaper, the Campus has to balance both news and opinion. It’s limited staff makes this logistically tricky; it does not make them guilty of censorship or comandeering the public voice.

  4. Midd Kidd on April 17th, 2014 1:21 am

    Also, beyond the green is engaging with the Campus by continuing to publish pieces from the blog as a column. But even if they weren’t, I think it’s totally okay to create a new space to express opinions if that feels more comfortable and safe.

  5. A "Marginalized Identity" on April 17th, 2014 3:05 am

    Classic condescending campus. You are a big reason why I feel silenced at Middlebury, just in case you were wondering.

    P.S. I loved when you scolded Beyond the Green on how best to be proactive and reactive. Lord knows that The Middlebury Campus has the right way to create a space for marginalized identities.

  6. Jack Dolan on April 17th, 2014 9:30 am

    In what way is The Campus causing you to feel silenced?

  7. you mad? on April 17th, 2014 10:44 am

    ” 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. ”

    What kind of fucked up shit is that?

  8. Nobody on April 17th, 2014 10:30 am

    I think this justifies everything that btg is doing.

  9. Just curious on April 24th, 2014 4:57 pm

    As someone not involved with journalism on campus other than a reader (i.e: I have no personal stake in whether the campus is not making it easier to express opinions for everyone), I’m often confused by replies like this and the one above it. The Campus wrote an entire article explaining their position, but “nobody” and “get over yourself” just made dogmatic assertions without giving arguments for them (and that is why I refer to them as “dogmatic”). For reasons like this, I find it hard to be swayed by btg’s stance.

    I sincerely hope that proponents of btg give people like me, who are simply looking for a clear account of both sides of the argument, more elaborate responses on what they mean by “silenced” or “pressured” to write in certain ways?

    Just curious

  10. alum '12 on April 24th, 2014 10:11 pm

    visit the website.

    beyondthegreenmidd.wordpress.com

  11. get over yourself on April 17th, 2014 10:40 am

    The Campus, as usual, missing the point

  12. youdon'tgetit on April 17th, 2014 12:58 pm

    beyond the green is founded by a politics that the campus and middbeat are not. beyond the green is not neutral and provides space for opinions and voices that are unaccepted and silenced on this campus. the campus newspaper, like middlebury as a whole, pretends that we are in a “free marketplace of ideas” where everyone can participate if they want to. we know this isn’t true. we do not accept that feeling marginalized and silenced is any individual’s fault. rather, it reflects systemic inequality of the institution as a whole. “open” opportunity is not equal opportunity because it pretends that there are not already power dynamics in place; btg corrects for these power dynamics by privelging opinions that are degraded. let’s get attention on the btg article this week in the campus, and also the blog: go/btg

  13. Zach Drennen '13.5 on April 23rd, 2014 10:41 am

    Classic Middlebury. Doesn’t publishing an article about how you feel silenced disprove your entire point? Maybe some spaces on campus make it hard to speak your mind, but The Campus is not one of them.

    Also, as a former editor I can say that we NEVER edited for anything other than style and grammatical clarity. Changing the point of an op ed to reflect our alleged neoliberal politics would be the worst kind of journalistic malpractice.

  14. snk.to/DOgj on September 20th, 2014 10:02 am

    trackback

    It is the happiest day of my life so far, when I am watching these funny video clips here, because after whole day working I was so tired and now feeling nicely.




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(Your Opinion Here)