By Elaine Cashy ’16
Lately, The Denisonian opinion pages have stirred some controversy on campus as various Yik Yak posts, Bullsheet submissions and even Denisonian articles have exhibited. I am thrilled that our pieces are promoting a dialogue on campus, but I believe that a few aspects of Denisonian opinion pieces are misunderstood by the responses that have been submitted to publications across campus.
First, the staff editorials have been misrepresented as seemingly anonymous articles. However, as noted in the paper, “unsigned editorials represent the majority view of the editorial board, consisting of the Editor-in-Chief, section editors and assistants.” If there is any confusion of accountability, we publish the names and positions of every participant in the staff editorials, our organization e-mail address and our office location in every issue on page four.
Pages four and five of The Denisonian, and any pieces labeled review, are opinions of the writers, not The Denisonian, unless it is written as a staff editorial. Also, as the section is titled “Opinion,” the writers are entitled to share their opinions, and make any claims they wish, as long as it is not a personal attack.
We welcome any response to these exhibited opinions, and these pages in the newspaper are meant to stir questions on campus, encourage reflection and spark conversation, and even change. They provide the freedom for any student to share any thought, and I truly hope people take advantage of this opportunity.
They also provide students with the opportunity to learn how to confront differing opinions, which is a very important skill, as we live in a society where everyone has the right to their opinion, and the right to voice it, no matter how poorly constructed.
The most important aspect of challenging a differing opinion is actually confronting it. This means articulating a response, the most effective of which would be a well-thought, rational response rather than a knee-jerk reaction to a bruised ego or complaining to friends, who all probably share the same opinion. (Note: See more about our thoughts on the unpopular opinion in Jewell Porter’s op-ed last week titled “The Importance of the Unpopular Opinion”).
I respect everyone who has the courage to publish his or her opinion. No matter the argument, publishing an opinion is an intimidating and exposing experience. And I respect those brave enough to publish a response in disagreement, willing to defend their thoughts publicly, which is just as intimidating.
This dialogue is extremely important, not only on campus, but also within every context of society. People have become too complacent with one side of the story, only listening to the thoughts that make them feel comfortable.
This is obvious from the bias of almost every media outlet; people can simply choose to listen to what they want to hear. That feeling of discomfort, that feeling of uneasiness when exposed to a different opinion, instead of being a catalyst to an open dialogue and a healthy confrontation of viewpoints, is usually smothered by a closed mind and unyielding comfort zone.
Please do not hesitate to submit opinion articles and responses to The Denisonian, or any student publication. Submissions can be made to firstname.lastname@example.org, or to our Opinion Editor Ryan Carson at email@example.com.