COLUMN: Week of columns emphasizes importance of discourse, free speech
Published: Friday, April 27, 2012
Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012 16:04
If you missed the last several issues of The Mirror, you have perhaps missed out on some of the most entertaining and controversial columns of the semester.
We began the week with a passionate Josh Divine, whose Monday column was as heartfelt as it was informative. Divine’s conservative and sometimes controversial views have made him a target of verbal and digital abuse over the years. He concluded that reason over anger should be used in criticisms. This attempt to set the boundaries of critics served as somewhat of a catalyst for things to come. Although I have taken my own jabs at Divine in the past, I think it’s fair to say that his 177 LSAT score qualifies him as a fairly reasonable person.
On Wednesday, former Editor-in-Chief Benjamin Welch authored a column questioning the motives and possibly the integrity of William Schiffelbein. Schiffelbein, this year’s election commissioner, has been by his brother Ben’s side as a firm critic of The Mirror for several years. In contrast, Welch has often been critical of Student Senate, and his column holds nothing back.
In the column, Welch suggests that there may have been too many coincidences during the Senate election, and the ruling from judiciary regarding, as bizarre as it may seem, a grievance filed by Ben Schiffelbein against his own brother’s election. A low voter turnout, lackluster advertising and a less-than-fantastic open forum did not seem to sit well in the eyes of the judiciary. Some actions were taken, but the judiciary did not overturn the election, and rightfully so.
By Wednesday’s Senate meeting, Ben Schiffelbein had produced a resolution wherein he felt The Mirror personally attacked William and wrote libelous material. Almost humorously, the resolution was unanimously declined.
Now, I will defend William as a man of character and integrity, and I would not consider him to have done anything that would bring to question his these traits. The fact of the matter is, if William wanted to sway the election in any way, three of his four fraternity brothers would not have lost their races. Congratulations again, Jonte Major.
My opinion is that this banter is not destructive, nor is it inappropriate. The fact is that Senate seats and other jobs in the student activities office are paid and mostly elected positions. The Mirror seldom calls out individuals, but maybe we ought to more often. These representatives of our school are paid and need to be held accountable, or at least be on their toes regarding their actions. Whether or not you think there was any wrongdoing with regards to the election or the judiciary, a free, uncensored and potentially critical newspaper is something to not only utilize as a means of accountability but should be respected as a reason for a particular right, we as Americans hold so dearly.
— Benjamin Fuller is a junior economics major and weekly columnist for The Mirror.