In our mission statement, printed at the bottom of this page each week, we outline two major objectives of the Orient?to provide relevant news to the Bowdoin community and to serve as an open forum for "thoughtful and diverse discussion."

We consider these pages the public's pages. This means that they are a space for the advancement of the public discourse?they are not a soapbox for individuals. We do not select letters or op-eds based on our agreement or disagreement with the author's position. However, we do not print every submission that crosses our path. We?the editorial board and the opinion editor?base our decisions on clarity of argument, interest, and degree to which a submission informs the Bowdoin community. And with the exception of our regular columnists, we try to include a diversity of voices week after week.

While the rest of these pages are your forum, this week we use our space to clarify our policies. These guidelines should be used when submitting to the Opinion section. Since they are guidelines, the editors reserve the right to make modifications when circumstances warrant.

Letters: Most submissions should be sent in the form of a letter. Letters should be addressed to the editors, and must be signed by at least one person. The editors strive to include as many submissions as possible; however, publication is not guaranteed. Letters must be limited to 200 words. Submission by email attachment or through the Orient's web-based form is preferred. Regardless of delivery format, letters must be received by the Orient by 7 p.m. on the Wednesday before the Friday of publication.

Except in rare circumstances, letters are only published if they are submitted by a member(s) of the Bowdoin community, broadly defined: students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni, area residents, parents, or individuals who have been referenced in the Orient.

Op-eds: Longer submissions may be arranged in advance with the Opinion editor, or submitted and considered for publication. The editors will determine whether to print an op-ed on the basis of three criteria: how well the argument is presented, originality of argument, and interest to the community. Op-eds, which may be 400 to 800 words, must meet a higher standard than letters to the editor.

Editing of submissions: We have developed a new policy about the editing of letters and op-eds, which will be implemented in the next issue of the Orient. We will edit letters for compliance with the Orient's formatting guide and Associated Press style. Such a policy will help us maintain a uniform appearance among submissions while ensuring that we do not alter the argument of submissions.

Affiliations: If the editors learn that a writer is a member or leader of an organization that relates to the content of the submission, the editors, at their discretion, may include contextual material at the end of a letter or op-ed. Writers are encouraged to provide this information in advance to the Orient. If the writer is a member of the Bowdoin community, the editors will append the class year or job title of the writer to his or her signature block.

Standards: Readers must not submit letters or op-eds that contain libelous material. The editors may contact writers to provide a citation for statements that are presented as fact. All material submitted to the Orient becomes the non-exclusive property of The Bowdoin Orient for perpetuity.

The Orient's Opinion section is committed to enhancing debate and facilitating communication among members of the Bowdoin community. We are confident that these policies will help fulfill this mission.

The editorial represents the majority opinion of The Bowdoin Orient's editorial board. The editorial board is comprised of Bobby Guerette, Beth Kowitt, and Steve Kolowich.