STAFF EDITORIAL: Anonymity an occasional necessity

In the last issue of The Lawrentian, the editorial board chose to print an anonymous letter to the editor concerning, among other things, the situation with the Greek system and the new formal group housing policy changes. Though infrequent, printing anonymous editorials is not unethical, and in this case we felt it necessary. Over the course of the term, we have tried to solicit editorials from many Lawrentians regarding the formal group housing policy and how it affects campus groups, including the fraternities. Every person we asked refused to write for fear of negative repercussions for their views.

With people afraid to write letters, a very important campus issue was seemingly ignored in one of the only public forums open to all in the Lawrence community. After careful consideration, the editorial board decided to run anonymous editorial submissions pertaining to this issue. The Lawrentian has never accepted anonymously submitted editorials, but, under circumstances such as these, authors’ names will be withheld upon request.

The Lawrentian recognizes the importance of maintaining author accountability—editorials and otherwise—as well as standards for the paper. To that end, there are several conditions necessary before we will print an editorial withholding the author’s name.

First, the editorials editor and the editor-in-chief must know who wrote the editorial. This allows for the same accountability as any other editorial.

Second, as with all editorials, the content of the letter must be constructive and not simply inflammatory. An anonymous editorial is not an opportunity to simply anger people.

Third, anonymous editorials can be submitted by anyone with any view on the issue and all are considered. We felt the editorial that ran in the last issue met all criteria.

The editorials pages are a forum for public opinion, and if a significant campus issue is passed over because of fear, it is necessary to correct the situation. Printing an editorial withholding the author’s name was the most feasible way to alleviate apprehension. We welcome any and all editorials that present an argument or position relevant to the Lawrence community.