Editors’ Column – Being Clear

Olivia Offner and Vanessa Persico

Last week’s issue of The Maroon-News carried a column called “Being Right — Love is Not Enough,” that prompted a spirited reaction across campus. The responses have been strong enough to warrant the following clarification, not in the form of a weekly political column, but from the role of Editor-in-Chief.

This year the idea was conceived tohave opposing political commentaries, headed “Being Right” and “What’s Left,” runningnext to each other in the commentary section to facilitate dialogues on campus about issues that are bigger than local or campus topics.”Love is Not Enough” ran under the “Being Right” column and attempted to explain the conservative rationale behind the approval of Proposition 8 last week in even liberal California. The “What’s Left” column that week explained liberal thinking about the same topic under the heading “The Legalization of Hate.” The conception of the two simultaneous but opposing dialogues on national topics is intended to provide a forum for intellectual and political diversity, by giving equal space and weight to both political sides of any argument. Last year, the only article that generated any discussion was a particularly graphic edition of “Minus the City,” the weekly sex column. It was our hope that the conception of these two balanced columns on national issues would engage the campus on a deeper level.

The reaction to “Love is Not Enough” has been surprising, particularly since the column next to it addressed an opposing point of view in favor of same-sex marriage. “Love is Not Enough” indicated a clear distinction between opposing homosexual marriage and opposing homosexuality. The opinions expressed in this article are based on the political and judicial ramifications of same-sex marriage. The article makes no judgment and does not suggest any restriction on the free choice of individuals to do whatever they deem will best constitute their happiness. The deeply charged emotional response to the column has therefore been startling. Unfortunately, homosexuals are so frequently subjected to acts of intolerance that any sentiment even remotely reminiscent of intolerance can raise an emotional response. We share this disdain for acts of hatred committed against anyone due to sexual orientation, race, gender or religion, and regret that anyone should have misinterpreted the column as a manifestation of discrimination.

The Maroon-News is committed to unbiased reporting in the News section, and is equally committed to a free and open exchange of ideas in the Commentary section. The first page of the Commentary section every week has a disclaimer which reads, “the opinions expressed in The Maroon-News are those of the individual writer and do not necessarily represent the views of The Maroon-News or of Colgate University.” The Commentary section is also unique in that any student, faculty member, or alumnus can write about any topic on their mind; some people write every week, and some people only write once. With the exception of a few articles that do not meet the newspaper’s guidelines (for example, we cannot print anonymous submissions or open letters) we print almost every article we receive. The openness of our forum is unmatched on campus, and this openness is crucial to the health of the Colgate community. No writer should ever have to feel squelched, intimidated or threatened in a civil exchange of viewpoints.

The Maroon-News has been impressed by the thought-provoking responses expressed by people on all sides of the same-sex marriage issue. At Colgate, we must strive for diversity in every sense of the word, and that includes intellectual and political diversity. We cannot be afraid or intolerant of opinions that counter ours; instead, we must strive to enter into respectful dialogue with those who disagree with us in order to develop a greater understanding of each other.