What are the Op-Eds?

Welcome to the Op-Ed section of the Threefold Advocate, a diverse and engaging beacon of free speech. You may be wondering what exactly this section of the newspaper is for, or maybe you do not even know there is a difference between the pages you are currently reading and the other sections of the paper. Do not worry, for this is a common misconception that we at the Threefold Advocate would like to clear up.

In the past, there has been some confusion and misunderstanding as to what exactly the Opinions pages contain. Some people think they are just like the rest of the stories and articles in the newspaper, that pages four and five of The Threefold Advocate are no different than pages one or seven. However, this could not be further from the truth. Today, we would like to show you why.

What you are currently reading is called an editorial, a column written by the newspaper staff that represents the staff’s stance on an issue. An editorial will always take a side, present the evidence and issue clearly and, as mentioned, be written by the newspaper staff. As stated in the small-print disclaimer below this column, neither this editorial nor the opinion columns on the rest of these two pages represent the views or position of John Brown University.

The other columns on these pages are opinion columns and are written by students, faculty, staff, alumni and even guest contributors. The views expressed belong to the person who wrote the column and do not necessarily represent the views of the newspaper staff or the University.

The other pages in the Threefold are also divided into sections—News, Lifestyles, Sports, etc.—but they all have something in common: they contain objective stories that report facts (unless otherwise noted), not opinions. Pages four and five—the Op-Ed section—are the only pages that contain opinion columns.

The reason we want to explain these pages is so that our readers may benefit fully from the Opinions and Editorial section. It is designed to be a space where ideas, experiences, wisdom and stories may be shared and discussed openly.

Anyone is welcome to write for the Opinions pages about any subject; however, we will not allow this space to become a forum for complaints. If you want to talk down about the cafeteria food or a professor, this is not the place. If there is a serious problem that you wish to write about in an articulate, patient manner, that is acceptable. Rants, however, are not.

Another important thing to remember when reading these pages is that the columnists who submitted their work put in significant effort and courage to write about some of these topics. Negative and disparaging comments are unkind and unwelcome, but a differing opinion is always anticipated. We enjoy fueling a discussion and we look forward to receiving responses to columns and letters to the editor from our readers.

We hope that you will learn and grow from reading the Op-Ed pages, and that they will benefit you by introducing you to new ideas, teaching you about an unfamiliar topic, exploring a person’s personal story and encouraging a discussion.