While The Michigan Daily is historically known as a liberal newspaper, many fail to remember its progressive — and albeit controversial — era. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the Daily’s editorial page was characterized by strong student activism. The Daily heavily questioned not only the University administration, but also the federal government. Its radical statements were so controversial that the paper received coverage from national media outlets. Michigan currently has one of the worst economies and job markets in the nation and, just this past weekend, the federal government had a large shift in political party power. But in spite of all this, the spirit of activism both on campus and in the Daily has been somewhat subdued. Our plan is to reverse this trend.

The Daily is an entirely student-run newspaper. But that doesn’t mean our stories exist exclusively on campus. Between an expansive alumni base and national media attention, the voice of the Daily has been widely heard. When the Daily first broke the news of assistant attorney general Andrew Shirvell’s hateful blog against Michigan Student Assembly President Chris Armstrong, the editorial staff called for Shirvell’s removal from office. The Daily coverage preceded a string of national news coverage of the issue and Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox later relieved Shirvell from his duties.

The editorial page, as demonstrated, has a realistic potential to promote concrete change on campus. And this power is not taken lightly. The opinion section exists to argue the positions of all types of students on campus. Whether it’s calling for the reasonable protection of a campus leader, supporting the implementation of an open housing option in the residence halls or calling for the repeal of the future campus-wide smoking ban, the editorial page serves as a voice for diverse and divisive issues. Our goal is to continue to check the University’s decisions while also stirring debate on campus.

Along with members of the Daily’s editorial board, we will examine what issues are most important to students — both on a local and national level — and use editorials to discuss realistic ways of approaching these different topics. While Daily precedent will always be taken into account, we will also consider new circumstances and our unique perspective as students in the 21st century.

But the only way the editorial page can be a relevant forum for discussion and new ideas is if students throughout campus contribute their opinions. We encourage students from all types of backgrounds to submit letters to the editor or viewpoints, so that the page communicates all the different facets of an issue and not just one side.

Throughout our tenure as the editorial page editors, we will strive to return the editorial page to its progressive roots. The Daily made a name for itself by not being afraid to stir up controversy and by strongly defending and standing by its views. In the midst of economic despair and social conflicts, our goal is to make the page an outlet for a voice that is young, informed and eager to create change.

Michelle DeWitt and Emily Orley
Editorial Page Editors

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.