Looking toward the future

As the future editorial board of The Northern Star, we would like to assure students that they have been heard. We will use that input, the input of our dedicated staff and our own experience to provide the best newspaper possible for NIU.

We do plan to do our part to make this campus a place where people of all races respect each other and can sit down and listen to each other’s views. We believe the African-American Latino/Latina Student Caucus can do its part. It has shown this through the energy and tenacity with which it has stood up for its cause.

However, we must also stand up for what we believe in while at the same time respecting those who disagree with us as readers and as human beings.

We cannot allow any group or person to dictate our hiring or firing policies or the editorial content of the paper. If we were to give in to the demands of the caucus by firing two columnists and printing a front page article on their dismissal, we would lose our integrity as editors and the paper would lose its integrity as a professional media organization.

As for the resolution calling for the dismissal of the Star Adviser Jerry Thompson, we believe this would be a tremendous mistake for the newspaper and our readers. Thompson does not determine the editorial content of the paper and had nothing to do with the printing of the two protested columns.

Newspapers across the country are filled with employees who would attest to the fact that they owe a large part of their success to the experience they gained from working with Thompson and The Northern Star.

We will make one promise—as long as your student fees pay for a small percentage of our operating budget and as long as we sit on this editorial board, all students will have an opportunity to have their voices heard.

We are very discouraged with the state of this campus and we’ve listened to the voices of the members of the new caucus, students, faculty and administration. You have been heard and we will continue to listen because we care about the NIU community.

Next year, we will be implementing a weekly cultural diversity spread as we had decided on long before the recent events occurred. This decision was not made on the heels of a protest, but on the basis of an interest to serve the community we are committed to reaching.

While we will make sure columnists who continue to write for our paper refrain from personal attacks and words that we consider racial slurs, we will not censor or deny the rights of our columnists to challenge attitudes and stir controversial issues using their own opinions. We, as editors, will continue to use our best judgement in these matters.

Hopefully, if the opinions of our columnists clash with the attitudes and beliefs of others, they will clash in a way that encourages constructive discussion of important topics and sparks enthusiasm in the NIU community.

To make these commitments effective, we need your help and we are the first to admit that. We are open minded and more than willing to listen to all concerns. We are not perfect and we realize we are not the only voice on this campus.

But we can be a more effective voice if people are willing to cooperate. The members of the caucus have committed themselves to coming up with solutions. We are committed to the same objective.

Nothing but good can come when students stand up for what they believe in and work toward making those beliefs become reality.