Staff Ed: Opinion guidelines

Last week, the Opinion section published an article, “Income Inequality at Macalester,” that became the subject of some controversy regarding the accuracy of included statistical figures. During the confusion, the article was pulled from our website, which is against our typical protocol. Incidents like this one have long troubled the Opinion section, even as recently as last semester.

To curtail these events, we hope to provide further clarity and guidelines on how to interact with the Opinion section and what we expect out of incoming articles.

Articles that we put on the page must be the absolute final draft. It is not fair to request that section or web editors make changes to articles that have already gone to print. By this token, both writers and editors must have absolute confidence in the articles The Mac Weekly has received by our layout night.

As editors, we will not alter the content of a submission without the permission of the writer. We will make grammatical edits and certain suggestions for the form of the article, but we won’t change your words unless you have explicitly given us permission. We take censorship very seriously, and refuse to manipulate the intent of your articles.

If your submission includes statistical data or figures, please include the data source. The Opinion section by no means requires such support for arguments—The Mac Weekly welcomes all types of arguments and essays—but when the submission explicitly references data or statistics, from we will now require the source of those data or statistics in order to maintain the integrity of our publication.

Nonetheless, The Mac Weekly is not responsible for opinions reflected in the Opinion section, which belong solely to the author of each piece. The Mac Weekly opinion pages strive to represent the ideas and positions that exist within the Macalester student body.

This section is not an authority on any given subject, but rather an open forum for students to be honest about their perceptions of the issues in and outside of the campus community. Anyone can incite debate and anyone can respond. Ideally, the op-ed pages promote a variety of voices, while refusing to accept any as an authority over any other.

Finally, the brief removal of Nicholas Michalesko’s piece from The Mac Weekly’s website occurred due to (and only due to) the contentious nature of the included statistics and figures. The removal was not meant to comment on the message of the piece, its worthiness of publication or even its controversial implications. The removal stemmed from a lack of clear protocol in handling these situations, not from censorship of an important issue.