Letter from the Editor

Great Debaters

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Let me start this letter with a hypothetical:

You are the Editor-in-Chief of a newspaper. As part of your duties as the head honcho, you have the final say on what articles will run in the paper.

What articles will you allow to run? And what criteria will you use to decide if an article is not fit for print?

If it helps you answer the question, let’s ask what you want each section to provide. You want to make sure the News section is reliable, so you only run articles that are factual. You want the Sports section to be timely, so you run only articles from recent games.

But what do you do with the Opinion section? Do you censor articles to keep up the quality of the section, or allow in articles that many would consider far-fetched and divisive?

I bring this question up because, this year as with every other year, there has been an up-roar over what we have chosen to print in The Dickinsonian’s Opinion section. And, this year as with every other year, members of the Dickinson community have asked why we continue to print them.

Last week, The Dickinsonian printed an article by Peter Soeller ’14 called “Stop Celebrating the Wealthy.” (Issue 10, Wed., Nov 13, 2013) The article generated a good deal of buzz and even prompted a few friends to pick up the paper. And though they disagreed with Soeller’s stand on drugs and even lashed out as to why we would print it, their staunch opposition to it generated a debate that lasted an hour and forced us to bury ourselves into a deep discussion on the role of students in changing federal legislation.

And that is why we print these articles. We print these conflicting, divisive viewpoints not because they stir up controversy, as many people believe. Nor do we print them in some Machiavellian scheme to under-write the square’s readership. We publish these articles because the ideas they give us are new and strange and, even if you disagree with them, the disagreement can drive debate and discussion.