“Michigan is democratic. Its history, its tradition, its honor is founded on a bedrock of education for all those who are capable of getting it, regardless of race, or color, or social and financial position.”
-From an Oct. 23, 1934 editorial
The editorial page of The Michigan Daily stands unapologetically behind students. We stand for equality, and against those who would complacently accept the status quo as “good enough.” We stand for justice, and against the excesses of concentrated power, be it in our government, in our corporations or in our University administration. We stand for freedom of speech, and against those who would stifle the exchange of ideas.
We have not arrived at these principles lightly. They reflect the received wisdom of 115 years of Daily editors and staff, who have worked long hours for little pay in the belief that this paper is more than just a training ground for journalists – that the Daily exists not just to provide information (and a crossword puzzle) to the campus, but that we have a duty to hold the institutions around us accountable.
Our principles do not always translate easily into clear-cut stances, and require constant reinterpretation. This page’s editorial stance is guided, however, by its prior precedent. That precedent was formed most memorably in the 1960’s, under the leadership of an influential generation of student activists. Yet the ideals each year’s editorial page editors strive to uphold date back further than that: to our opposition in the 1950s to the University’s policy limiting speeches on campus by so-called “subversives”; to the 1934 editorial quoted above, which urged the University not to schedule football games with Southern institutions that refused to let black athletes take the field; and to earlier editorials.
This page is perhaps the most visible display of the editorial freedom the Daily mentions on its front page every day. That editorial freedom, however, has not always been assumed. On several occasions in the past, Daily editors, facing what they held to be unjust interference by the Board in Control of Student Publications, resigned in protest. It was not until 1969 that the University Board of Regents finally affirmed that the University would respect the Daily’s control of its editorial content. We remain vigilant against any attempt to reassert editorial control through today’s Board for Student Publications, which concerns itself with the Daily’s finances.
Beyond the unsigned editorials that reflect the Daily’s position, the opinion page plays a larger role in presenting student ideas on campus. Columns, viewpoints, letters and even cartoons reflect the views of their authors, who may sharply disagree with what the Daily or its editors believe. While the code of ethics in the Daily’s bylaws outlines a responsibility to report fairly and to avoid unnecessary stereotypes, it also outlines a duty to support the open exchange of ideas. We, as editors, hope to maintain the Daily’s opinion page as a viable forum, and we encourage readers to let us know when we – or the writers and artists whose views appear outside of this box – go wrong.
There are some positions we will always support, and some people will always disagree with us. The editorials that appear in this space will always be in favor of keeping church, state and the University out of an individual’s private decisions; in support of accessible and affordable higher education; for policies that allow workers a fair share of the wealth they create. The editorials reflect the beliefs the Daily has arrived at through the decades of crumbling newsprint in the bound volumes shelved at 420 Maynard, and it is our job as editorial page editors to give voice to these views.
Editorial Page Editors