From the editors: on opinions in The Classic

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OVER THE COURSE of this year, our expanding Opinion section has brought about controversy, with concerns about articles voiced by students and teachers. In light of the recent arti- cle regarding dating at Townsend Harris, two discussions have emerged. One is the contentious debate surrounding the contents of the article itself and the other is whether such an article has any place within the pages of The Classic. Here, we would like to address the second concern that has arisen.
In no way would we ever consider pulling out an opinion article because we disagreed with its content.

A newspaper is a forum for opinions to be aired in the hopes of leading to a wider discussion within the school community. In the two years that The Classic has been online, we’ve published over 700 articles.Within one week, Ross’s op-ed on dating at THHS became the most viewed article on the entire site. Love it or hate it, the article clearly focused on a topic worthy of discussion, as it has gripped the mind of many a student. Previous opinion pieces were much less successful in generating a response from the readership.

Though many vehemently disagreed with the article, many others also called for it to be taken down or questioned why we’d publish it. Disagreement, however, is no cause for refusing to publish a piece. The Classic is a place where any and all topics may be written about, due to the first amendment guarantees in our charter.

In this case, the disagreements on this article began in the office of The Classic, with numerous editors fiercely debating its content. None, however, considered pulling it based upon that content. We do believe that a thorough discussion of social life at Townsend Harris is valuable and desired by our student body. Opportunities to share differing viewpoints with The Classic are abundantly available: letters to the editor, comments on the online edition– even staffers may rebut a colleague’s argument.

There will always be articles that offend some portion of the population. Readers of the opinion pages of major publications have at times been intensely offended by some of the opinions on display. An opinion piece is not written to please, but rather, as the philosopher John Stuart Mill argued, to lead to discussion of from becoming “dead dogma.”
It is perfectly acceptable to take into question the writer’s point of view or the quality of the writing itself, but such potentially caustic articles cannot be deemed unworthy simply because of their stance.

So, we want to make our policy as clear as possible: We at The Classic will never refuse to publish an opinion piece because we disagree with its point of view. Barring anything slanderous, ob- scene, or language that would be considered hate-speech, we will consider any and all topics for publication in our opinion section. Moreover, we invite all readers to take advantage of this openness and will institute an open submissions policy for op-eds from now on. Anyone wishing to write an op-ed (as opposed to a letter to the editor, which responds to published articles), may send it for consideration to thhsclassic@gmail.com.
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