Come in, don’t cop out

Erin Flegg
Erin Flegg

I have read every comment, every letter to the editor, responded to every phone call and every e-mail. So please consider this my turn to comment.

Few things irk me more than people who want their opinions heard and don’t have the guts to stand behind those opinions. If, under a pseudonym such as Mark Knopfler or Not-An-ArtSci, you tell me you have no respect for my work or for me as a person and then expect me to respect your opinion, you are sorely mistaken.

It occurs to me that some of the anger that’s arisen might be caused by miscommunication. For example, a lot of people don’t seem to see the difference between a signed editorial and an arts review. Or between a group editorial and a news story.

Have the wherewithal to ask. If something doesn’t seem right, if you disagree with closing comment threads or feel someone or something has been left out, ask why. Ask who decides. Ask by what criteria. If, after you’ve informed yourself you still don’t like it, complain away.

Write letters, submit opinion pieces, make comments (with your name on them), speak up at assembly meetings and come talk to me. I’m almost always in my office at 190 University. That’s why all these channels exist. So you can have a voice.

If you’re really brave, you could even try working for the newspaper. If you’re hired, you’ll get one of these nifty boxes in which to put your name, your picture and 500 of your strongest words.

All of us here do our best to fully inform ourselves of the issues so as to be in the best possible position to inform our readers of the facts and to offer as many viewpoints as possible. That is, after all, the goal of a newspaper.

Sometimes we fall down in that mandate. When we do, we correct our mistakes, we apologize and we learn. This is not an excuse nor is it an admission of guilt. It is an acknowledgment of fallibility.  All we ask from you is the same.

Regardless of what you might think about our policies, our news coverage or the opinions we express, we stand behind all of it and will continue to do so. If every single person on campus stands behind his or her opinions, we may have a chance at creating some useful discourse on racism and other issues that are—whether you’re directly affected by them or not—major problems.

Discussions on the definition of racism and on the separation of public and private space are crucial to our development as academics and as people who have to live in the world day to day. But shouting at each other from behind faceless pen names won’t get us anywhere.  If you think your opinions and experiences are worth telling, be proud of them. It’s the only way we can cultivate educated views that stand up to criticism and it’s the only way we’re going to make any change with any staying power.

So next Friday, collect your thoughts and your questions and stop by the lower ceilidh in the JDUC around 6 p.m. Let’s talk.

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