Halfway through this semester, I’d like to take inventory of two of The Argus’ most relevant sections—Wespeaks, and our new Op-Ed section. Why? Because these are your—the reader’s—sections.
Developing and shaping Op-Ed this semester has given me the opportunity to work with some of the most courageous, intelligent, and witty members of our community; this experience has only confirmed my belief that having these forums to illuminate the issues, stories, and perspectives that may have otherwise gone unvoiced is valuable to all of us.
But the wane in Wespeaks, handful of column submissions (two, to be exact), and scattering of single Opinion submissions over the course of the semester is disconcerting: these are your sections, and they are as engaging, informed, and representative of who you are as part of this campus as you make them.
Given this, it’s frustrating and disheartening when The Argus receives Wespeaks that, in response to others or to Opinion articles, assumes the views of our staff with that of the author’s. Over the years, I’ve read Wespeaks deem The Argus racist, homophobic, ragingly liberal, despicably conservative, inarticulate, uninformed, and immature, among other epithets—not in response to our own reporting, but to views expressed by your peers. We offer you these sections as a platform for your voice, so I’m compelled to remind you: the views expressed in Wespeaks and in Opinion never have, and never will, represent or be biased towards the views of The Argus staff.
Given this, I’d like to take this moment to step outside the bubble of objectivity and express my dismay at Mytheos—Mr. Holt, to be sure—for the disdain he has shown for the very section allowing him to exercise his extra-column commentary in this issue. Wespeaks are unique as a space unabridged for our community, and if expressing “moral outrage,” et al., is justification for silencing it, well, that would be a very ironic turn for Mr. Holt, indeed.
Nonetheless, it seems to be only his charged jargon and his own outrage that elicits dialogues from our community. You may say he is biased; contrarian; that he overlooks other points; but he also consistently incites and engages responses in a way I have yet to see from anyone else in my over three years on The Argus staff. But why does it take getting attacked, getting outraged, for you to make yourself heard? Response doesn’t necessarily imply debate; why not write in support of an Opinion piece or Wespeak? Or respond to a news article? Why, after years of letters and resentment from various members of the queer community, did The Argus not receive a single response—from any community—to Mollie McFee’s ’10 stirring piece on the importance of BiLeGaTAs? But if Wesleyan can’t be bothered to react to larvae in their lunch (I mean, organic is great, but seriously Usdan, just rinse off your produce), I wonder what it would take to return Wespeaks—and bolster Opinion—to the vibrant dialogue it has in the past seen in waves, at best.
The Argus—and your peers—want to know: what engages you? It doesn’t have to be politics or environmental policy. You may say, “I don’t have strong opinions” or “I’m not an activist;” we want to know about what you’re doing instead. Your interests are valid, and in a way, may be more fascinating, if not refreshing, because they haven’t been picked apart by campus and mainstream media outlets alike. There’s no need to wield a cigar or go green if you can and want to express yourself: share a thought or response through a Wespeak, or submit your personal story, idea, or column proposal to Op-Ed. You’re here because you have something to say; don’t overlook this opportunity to engage that. The Argus is here, as are all of your Wesleyan communities, and we’re listening.