Different views key in college

Above all, a newspaper is supposed to be a forum for thought.

We don’t say what those thoughts should be or tell you which way you should think. That is left up to the consumer of the material we disseminate. By design, we are just the venue.

Likewise, the purpose of the university can be found in its etymology – the history of the word. That etymology says that the term was derived from “institution of higher learning” or the Latin phrase universitas magistrorum et scholarium, which means “community of masters and scholars.”

So by comparison to a newspaper, an institution such as Western or Yale or any other university is supposed to be a place where people go to be challenged and educated in all facets of academia.

Here are a list of names to ponder: Warren Buffett, Angela Davis, Henry Louis Gates, Joe Clark, Martin Luther King III, Nikki Giovanni, Jim Breuer, Judge Joe Brown and Mitch Albom.

These names are just a random selection of prominent speakers who have either visited or will visit the Hill soon. Their names brought almost instant excitement to students and faculty alike, and showed that the groups that brought them here have taken the caliber of speakers at Western to a new height. Some entertained; others gave us insights into their personal ideologies.

We laughed, we clapped and were thankful to listen to them.

But while each of these individuals and many others have brought their name recognition, we wonder if they also brought safe messages and personas as well. We wonder if the consumer is being somehow shortchanged in the process of bringing speakers who are well-known, but who we also know won’t ruffle too many feathers.

We recently had Angela Davis here, the professor, author and activist. But would Western have had her here in, say, the early 1970s?

It’s nobody’s fault. In fact, the sheer rise in the level of speaker who comes here is great. But now that we are getting butts in the seats, perhaps now is the perfect opportunity to challenge the consumer with speakers who have more abstract points of view than we are most likely used to.

Perhaps upcoming semesters should put us face to face with a speaker or two from the opposite end of popular thought on a particular issue – not to change or support it necessarily, but just to have it there to be heard. Let’s let the consumer decide what he or she wants to think about it.

That is what we strive to make newspapers all about. That is what we should strive to make the activities centered around a university like as well.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member board of student editors.