In our second issue, we published an opinion on “the case for personal responsibility,” an op-ed that argues the first steps of mental well-being must be taken by the individual.
It was heavily criticized by students on Facebook, and critiqued by UTSG’s newspaper, The Varsity, last week. Looking back, our only regret is that we did not poke more holes in the op-ed to help the author narrow their focus and strengthen their arguments.
We do not, however, regret publishing the piece.
We’re almost fifty years old, and our future couldn’t be more uncertain. With the student choice initiative now in place, students are able to opt-out of The Medium, which could render us virtually obsolete if all students suddenly decided to opt-out next semester. If we want to stay relevant, we want students to believe we’re worth having around. But when students only see value in a platform that conforms to their worldview, that platform stops being an impartial arena for free thought and becomes another mouthpiece for a distinct ideology.
Professional newspapers don’t have to struggle with this issue. That’s because to survive, most prominent ones have already compromised on their integrity and objectivity. They neglect certain stories or frame them in certain ways to maintain sponsorship and readership from target audiences. This is something we refuse to do. But the SCI has made it more difficult to carry out this mandate. We shouldn’t have to second-guess what we publish on the basis that it might offend someone.
University students have come to not just fear, but hate opinions they disagree with.
If someone says something students don’t like, that person becomes something evil that must be snuffed out or cancelled. That is the mindset, either known or unknown, that many students on the university campus have.
Young people today are very afraid, and very angry. At the same time, they crave genuine empathy. But when we fail to connect on a deeper level, face-to-face—when our main source of communication is only happening through the internet—we lose touch with reality and our sense of basic human decency.
Fruitful discussion is difficult to facilitate online. It’s easy to tear someone down when you’re not doing it to their face. And people will just add on to the noise and pat each other on the back because “hooray, they are moral. They are right. They are good.”
Vehemently championing a cause does not make you good, it makes you a zealot. There’s a fine line between zealotry and activism.
Although their anger might come from a good place, it’s not conducive to the mandate of an intellectually-stimulating campus.
This culture of fear and anger has gone beyond empathy. It severely limits our freedom to discuss difficult topics and reach a consensus on certain issues.
The Medium would like to declare itself as a forum that is open to all who want a platform to discuss difficult ideas. We will do our best to not censor any opinion, and we hope students will read our Comment section in good faith, with the understanding that we only want to contribute to your education.
We will hold ourselves to the proper journalistic standard, and we will fight for the privilege of being an important part of a diverse and vibrant campus experience. We will not stray from this mandate, and we will not be afraid of those that look to silence or intimidate our writers.
For now, we will continue our work, regardless of who decides to opt-in.