The Student Newspaper at Middlebury College

The Middlebury Campus

Middlebury Dies in Darkness

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

The administration has criticized this paper’s coverage in public and private, and to our editors. They have implied that this paper contributes to negative perceptions of our school. They have shown discomfort and grown defensive when community members have shared their stories. The administration has realized we are a broken community.

They have also said it is the role of this paper to help build a new community by running positive stories. We disagree. There are no positive or negative stories, only truth.

The Campus ought to be a means of dissemination. We strive to report on the Middlebury student experience as it is, whatever it may be and in its truest form. Authenticity needs to be compulsory of the free press, coupled with thorough investigation. We aspire to these principles in order to best serve the student body.

Undoubtedly, many people in our community feel that we have not met these aspirations, some feel we have, and others probably think we have the wrong objectives entirely. We unequivocally believe that the aforementioned goals are of the highest priority, and acknowledge there is still plenty of room for The Campus to grow.

We want to be a newspaper for the community, but we must be a platform for the student experience first and foremost. This is our mission and this is where we will continue to improve. We want to prioritize true, genuine stories that reflect the milieu on campus, as well as in the surrounding town area. We believe our job is to capture the sentiments of life at Middlebury as we see it happening in real time, and inquire deeply. We acknowledge that in the past we have not always done this well.

The college press needs to mirror the student experience like a shadow at dusk. When someone walks about, the sun casts a mighty shadow of that person on the ground. No matter where that individual goes or what they confront, their shadow will be by their side depicting a larger version of themselves.

The Campus aims to function the same way. We wish to work alongside students by representing their opinions in print and bolstering those feelings, the way a shadow augments someone’s stature. When the student body faces hardship, whether it be racially charged incidents, the Trump administration’s threat to DACA or the Charles Murray fiasco, we as an editorial team strive to report on and defend the sentiments of the students.

In the Campus office we do debate such issues. We have our own opinions, but ultimately we aim to print the truth and channel how the student body feels overall. It is not our role to elevate our own voices; rather it is our duty to champion the perspectives being shared in McCullough, the AFC, in the dormitories, etc.

Moreover, we should be a microphone for students’ voices. We aim to be a means of amplifying what is already being said by folks around campus. When opinions are expressed, but neither the faculty, nor other students, nor the administration listen or respond, we will, to the best of our ability, be the loudspeaker that makes those attitudes clear and heard.

In this work of advocacy, we hope to build a more cohesive community. Collectively, Middlebury College needs to work towards greater solidarity during times of adversity. Recognizing the struggle and experiences of one another, amidst violent actions of racist assailants, is absolutely necessary. We create this cohesion through the paper by reflecting the student experience so that everyone is made aware. We also want to serve as a nexus of all student voices to propagate their views, while recognizing that some voices are historically and unfairly marginalized. We will equitably support the experiences of women, POCs, queer, disabled and poor folks in particular.

For those who feel we have the wrong objectives or are utterly failing to meet our standards, we implore you to propose how we can improve. We will seriously consider your criticism. However, we will not give praise where it is not due. We will not publish masturbatory tales about our community that belie the struggles this campus is going through. That sort of advertisement is left to the communications office.

If you do not like what we print, we invite you to write in. As long as they fit our editorial standards, we will publish your essays and letters. We ask you to exhibit “rhetorical resilience” and to not let the word of the press get you down. Instead, embrace what the words say, own your shortcomings, and work to improve and grow. It is what we plan to do.

21 Comments

21 Responses to “Middlebury Dies in Darkness”

  1. Katrina Spencer on November 9th, 2017 9:49 am

    Wow. You are bold. You are brave. I think the young people are calling it “savage” nowadays? 😉

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  2. Elma on November 9th, 2017 10:58 am

    With you Campus, go team go!

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  3. Gail on November 9th, 2017 11:20 am

    I commend the newspaper in the reporting and response. Mature, clear and FAIR.
    For the cost of attending Middlebury – whether free or the 75k charged, every single voice should speak loud and clear.
    If the school behaved in a manner that is unjust, they should discuss it, admit it and move on to correct it. To continue to document events that never took place is almost as criminal as the accusations against someone that wasn’t even in attendance.
    Shame on you, Middlebury and for the newspaper – stay strong, supportive of the voices that need to be heard.
    FYI: we have always been strong supporters of the school until these events and how they were handled.

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  4. Jeff Potter '89 on November 9th, 2017 11:49 am

    Right on.

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    Ben Patch '89 Reply:

    Woohoo Jeff Potter in the house!

    I also think the Campus coverage has been solid; factual reporting with perspective.

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  5. Sam Lazarus '09 on November 9th, 2017 1:25 pm

    This kicks ass. Keep on keepin’ on! The alums are proud of you.

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    Tegan O'Brien '09 Reply:

    What Sam said.

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  6. David Barreda ‘00 on November 9th, 2017 2:03 pm

    As a former photo editor for The Campus, I am proud to read this. The Campus’ focus has tightened and sharpened since I was there and for the better. Especially on the Charles Murray fiasco, I have felt nothing but shame at how the College administration is handling this, but pride in the group of dedicated journalists working at this publication.

    I chose not to donate to the College this year, I think A first for me since I graduated. I’m sure not a tear was shed, or if it was even noticed beyond the ears of the nice student who called to ask for my annual donation. Oh well. But is there a way to donate directly to The Campus, instead? If so, please let me know. Most importantly, Onward!

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    J Price '99 Reply:

    Everything I would have said, David Barreda just has.
    Keep up the fine work.

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    Julia Reply:

    Hi David,

    As a student who currently works for the Advancement Office and calls alumni for financial gifts, I assure you can donate directly to The Campus. When you make your donation, if you prefer to do it online, you can specify your pledge and write ‘The Middlebury Campus Newspaper.” Your donation will go directly and solely towards The Campus. Please let me know if you want to proceed with this and I can give you a call when I work my next shift. I am not doing this because the College asked me to, but I am happy to help if you want to support these guys and their excellence in journalism!

    Best,
    Julia ’19

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  7. Jessamy Klapper on November 9th, 2017 3:08 pm

    So much love and solidarity to you all. Keep on fighting the good fight, and yes – if there is a way to donate to The Campus without donating to Midd, let us know. I know I am looking back at my time at Midd and just wishing there was half as much organized, thoughtful, persistent resistance as there seems to be there now.

    Jessamy Klapper
    Class of ’09

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  8. '14 on November 9th, 2017 4:15 pm

    What if we just donated to the Campus, and not the college?

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  9. Harry '16.5 on November 9th, 2017 4:25 pm

    “We will not publish masturbatory tales about our community that belie the struggles this campus is going through. That sort of advertisement is left to the communications office.” Good line. Seems like the Campus leadership have finally realized the “let’s not be too hard on the administration because we need our Old Chapel sources” strategy makes no sense. I hope you aren’t still quote checking.

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    Fritz '15 Reply:

    Couldn’t agree more. Good on the current editorial board for realizing that their place on campus is more than just to hold the party line.

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  10. Maya on November 9th, 2017 5:25 pm

    THANK YOU. At long last.

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  11. Joanna Colwell on November 10th, 2017 10:02 am

    As a community member involved in racial justice work, I am impressed beyond measure at the clarity and courage you are showing in this editorial. Bravo!

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  12. Amitai Ben-Abba '15 on November 10th, 2017 12:50 pm

    Proud of y’all. Stay strong, make a legacy.

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  13. Alumnus on November 12th, 2017 12:13 am

    Great. So it goes, that the free press at Middlebury becomes another safe space for rich kids who can’t be taught to think for themselves. This pedantic and self righteous editorial written by the misguided and misanthropic social justice warriors at the helm is an example of the kind of bias and moralizing bullshit that is the opposite of objective journalism. Hopefully this is a lesson you can learn, and your parents’ money won’t be wasted for naught: If you claim to stand for the perspective of all students, perhaps invite the perspective of the many alumni who disagree that Middlebury is a racist institution and that the rioters got what they deserved.

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    Hannah Blackburn '17 (former Opinions Editor) Reply:

    I believe that opinion is clearly welcomed, as well – write in if you want your voice heard. As long as you support all your factual statements with evidence, I’m sure the opinions section would print what you have to say. If you wish the paper printed something different, write it.

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    Benjamin Savard '14 Reply:

    What a lovely madlib of a response!

    (Nouns) at Middlebury are so (adjective) and (adjective) these days! If I had *my* way, things would be (vaguely positive adjective) instead of (negative adjective). The Campus is guilty of (noun) and is plainly (yet another adjective)!

    Here’s one for you: instead of writing a (anonymous) and (cowardly) comment about your (embarrassingly misinformed) opinions, write an (op-ed) and (sign your name).
    Mine is listed above. Feel free to find me on facebook and message me- I’d be happy to explain why you’re wrong.

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  14. Julia '19 on November 12th, 2017 10:35 pm

    Proud of you all. Thanks for doing a great job as the bastion of truth at Middlebury.

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