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.