COLUMN: What your opinions actually mean to us
Central Michigan Life strives to be the voice of all students on campus. It's also the voice of CMU students who choose to use us to share their voices.
Let's remember that.
Letters to the editor are written pieces students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni or community members have submitted to us responding to or commenting on something CM Life published or reported on. Letters can be about an issue on campus or in the community that the author wants to bring attention to.
A guest column is usually written about a belief or a topic someone is passionate about. They have opinions that they want to share about topics we haven't covered. Although it is an opinion, writers are still required to provide facts and a decent argument to back up their opinions.
When it comes to someone submitting a guest column, the procedure is as follows: the person either comes to our office or reaches out to us on social media or email, explaining interest in submitting a column. Then we explain to them our guidelines, which focuses on backing up the opinion with facts. We then edit it, and sometimes, bring the author in to go over things that could be improved.
Then we publish it. Then readers get to agree or disagree on those opinions.
We are the student media here at Central Michigan University that provide the platform to do that. Students can't go anywhere else on campus where they have a opportunity to share their work with the campus audience. You can't bring a prerecorded video to News Central 34 or Moore Hall TV with expectation that they going to quickly publish it for you for the whole community to see.
Part of our role here is to do that for students.
We create journalism ourselves, but we also give students a forum to share their opinions.
We encourage students to bring work to us, and when they do, we try our hardest to work to get it published if the writer is willing to have it edited and put their name on it. And that's a common issue we have — people want to say something anonymously and aren't willing to put their names to their opinions.
Over the years, CM Life has published many things that staff members disagree with. We've frequently published opinions and letters to the editor that are critical of us. We have published many opinions from students that our readers have disagreed with.
Where else can those students go to get their voices heard if we turn them down? Nowhere.
What many students refer to as "hate speech" is constitutionally protected speech that they disagree with. We don't support personal attacks, anonymous attacks, libelous language or profanity.
There are many places on this campus where you don't have a voice. We don't want CM Life to be one of those places. Your opinions matter to us that much. We believe the student body has, and should use, its voice.
So you tell me: When should I tell a fellow student that their opinion is unpublishable and take that voice away? You tell me where you think free speech ends and should be silenced.
I'm interested in your opinion because it actually means something to me, and to our staff.
The only opinion missing from CM Life is yours — the viewer, reader, commenter — the person critical of the rest of the people sharing their opinions.
Send us your opinions to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
I look forward to hearing from you.