Our mission statement asserts, "The Orient is committed to serving as an open forum for thoughtful and diverse discussion and debate on issues of interest to the College community." In keeping with the spirit of this mission, the editors decide to exercise little control over the content of the opinion pages. As an open forum, our goal is to encourage dialogue and the free expression of ideas.
We believe that strong newspapers help to create strong communities. We do our best to provide in-depth, balanced reports that provide news and context for the campus and academic communities. However, the opinion pages are the one place where responsibility for content lies with the campus and academic communities.
While we refuse to run personal attacks and language that is patently offensive, we do not make decisions for the College community about those ideas that are worthy of discussion and those that are not. We run the most well-written and coherent submissions that we receive. In the rare event that we choose not to run a submission, the decision is never based on the ideology of the editors. Over the past several years, the Orient has been accused of political bias by conservatives and liberals alike. In our view, when the criticism comes from both sides, we must be doing something right.
But when members of the Bowdoin community criticize the Orient opinion pages, they must recognize that it is not the publication they should criticize but rather the tone of campus discussion. Readers must understand that the voices that are published reflect the voices that are heard on campus. Unfortunately, when the loudest voices dominate debate, other important perspectives are lost.
If readers believe that the Orient's letters and op-eds do not express sentiments that they identify with, then we ask them to put forth their own ideas to help expand the spectrum of campus viewpoints. Our response to those who find the tenor of debate on campus and in these pages less than satisfactory is simple: this section is only as good as you make it.
The editorial represents the majority view of The Bowdoin Orient's editorial board. The editorial board is comprised of James D. Baumberger, Drew Fulton, Bobby Guerette, Evan S. Kohn, and Beth Kowitt.