Wesleyan Argus Editors
Wesleyan Student Assembly Officers
University President Michael Roth

It seems as though Wesleyan is failing to educate its students regarding the concept of “Op-Ed” articles. Per a Merriam Webster dictionary, the definition of an Opposite-the-Editorial-Page article is “an essay in a newspaper or magazine that gives the opinion of the writer and that is written by someone who is not employed by the newspaper or magazine.” In other words, a possibly dissenting or even offensive opinion with which the publication itself does not necessarily agree. A publishing entity prints such articles to promote free speech and the informed exchange of ideas. Space is allowed for opinions the editors and publisher likely do not hold, the greater goal being the fostering of communication and discussion amongst the community the publication serves.

Diminishing an overall campus publication that possesses the ability to reach all members of that campus society in order to reallocate funding to numerous separate “smaller campus publications” is a misguided (not to mention short-sighted) effort at diversity.

Rather, the variety of other voices at Wesleyan should be allocated space in the Argus. The kaleidoscope of communities that exist at this college each deserve representation and exposure via a central publication. They deserve access to a larger audience that might not otherwise bother to pick up their particular publication, or go to their web site. (“Argus,” after all, refers to a Greek mythological being possessing at least a hundred eyes, of which no less than several were always open at any given time.)

Fostering a bunch of separate publications that each speak only to a specific audience only increases the fragmentation of communication engendered by Internet news, the echo chamber where it is all too easy to receive only the messages one finds agreeable.

Wesleyan, of all colleges, ought not to be encouraging narrow thinking. You may find attitudes expressed by some other person or group appalling, but just imagine how valuable knowing their opinions first-hand could be? You might be able to understand them better; perhaps you might even be able to change their minds!

Roberts is a member of the Class of 1989.

  • Howard Wyrick

    I applaud the message. I only wish it was carried nationally. It might be hard for a lot of college students in this country to understand, but there are rural areas in the US where the media, the press, all radio, television and news print have been owned and operated by the same families, the same companies, for generations. No opposition is allowed to the view carried on the local TV station and in the pages of the local newspaper. In areas with only one newspaper, one TV station and one or two radio stations, when the media serves as a PR organ for local governments, the repression of free speech and differing opinions gives the subtle impression that citizens in these communities agree with the position of councils and boards on everything from expenditure of public funds to codes and ordinances. Everything that impacts every resident, yet things about which residents have no avenue or means to disagree, discuss or debate.
    Leave the densely packed areas of the US and 46 million people live in rural America, 72% of the US land mass. After I left college, I returned home to a small community where the scenario I described has been a reality since 1922. The owners of the local newspaper, TV station and radio station have held an iron fist over local news and press coverage in an area encompassing five small towns and 59,000 people. The family has as much as hand picked most of the politicians, law enforcement officials, judges and board members for over 90 years.
    If today’s students want to see the reality of how suppression of differing opinions and voices plays out in the real world outside the bubble of safe spaces and speech codes on campus, take a good, long, hard look at these hostage rural areas. This is not the way it is supposed to work, but like poverty, it’s easy to turn away from the reality and not look.