By The Mac Weekly

We’ve gotten a lot of fiery submissions for the Opinion this semester that seemed to transform the Mac Weekly into a virtual battleground for students with disagreeing opinions. Some people seem to see this as problematic; we received a critical paper criticizing the critical nature of most of the op-eds this semester. That’s a lot of criticism in one sentence, but it is admittedly the theme of the Opinion section this semester. However, it’s important to remember that we Macalester is an institution known for its opinionated, engaged, bright, and yes, critical, students. We’re not trying to say that Mac students are any better than anyone else-there was already an op-ed about that addressed that-but rather that we should be proud of the types of op-eds we’ve been seeing, for they reflect a genuine conscientiousness and ability to think critically that are ostensibly traits students should internalize during their time at Macalester. The Opinion section should be seen as more than a conduit for people to whine and complain. We’ve seen a wide range of op-eds coming in, whether they be philosophical papers savory and inquisitive to some and esoteric and convoluted to others; explosive arguments over the role and nature of athletes at Mac; continued updates on the latest efforts of the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group in its fight for social and economic equality; the resurfacing of the debate over the meaning and implications of global citizenship; representations of the complicated nature of the relationship between students and Residential Life; or simply letters to the Editor from students or student organizations with something to say and need of a place to say it. It’s been a lot of fun to see the Opinion section evolve throughout the semester from what sometimes is thought of as a stagnant section of the newspaper to a catalyst for campus-wide drama. After hectically receiving, editing, and organizing submissions-most of them passionate, well-written, opinionated, and overall rewarding to read-we layout the paper each and every Wednesday night. The real fun starts on Fridays, when we see students grab a paper in the campus center and hear how the freshest batch of op-eds have conversations that are mostly, to our delight, critical and controversial. For two editors with no previous experience with the Mac Weekly, it’s been amazing-and honestly surprising-to see how many people actually read and talked about the op-eds in the Opinion section.

Before denigrating The Mac Weekly for its lack its inability to emulate an actual newspaper like The New York Times, it’s important to remember that the newspaper is highly non-bureaucratic and completely student-run. We’re here to have a weekly publication that essentially can do whatever we want to, giving an uncensored voice to the student body. Yes, we edit submissions pick and choose what to write about to a certain degree, but you’d be hard-pressed to find an editor of the Mac Weekly who wouldn’t run a piece by an individual student or a student organization. This transparency, autonomy, and open-mindedness is a pillar of The Mac Weekly, regardless of the costs that come with having a fully student-run organization.

The philosophy behind the Opinion section is the same as the entire newspaper’s: serving as an open and accessible space for students to express their opinions and voices. We don’t select pieces based on what we think is more or less important, flashy, or well written. Obviously, there are some criteria for submissions, but they’re common-sense guidelines, such as the author is a member of the Mac community and not a crazy person ranting in gibberish (yes, it’s happened). We hope you take advantage of this newspaper; continue to read and send us whatever you’ve got.