In comparing the newspapers of today to newspapers of the past, it seems that a vital part of the school paper is missing. The “Letter to the Editor” section has provided a place for hot debates throughout its existence. Whether students were concerned with the quality of their residence hall or looking to debate opinion pieces published in the previous edition, this section was a place for students to voice their concerns in print.
You may not be familiar with one of the most interesting digital resources that Drew provides, The Drew Acorn Archive. This page is home to digitized editions of The Acorn reaching back to the very first edition from 1928. It is in looking through these old editions on the archive that the lack of “Letter to the Editor” articles becomes apparent.
This practice has largely been replaced by posting to social media to express annoyance and unhappiness, which is typically unproductive. Posting may only allow a few people to engage with one’s complaints, and while it may help let off steam, it does nothing to actually solve the issue.
Personal social media feeds are not a replacement for wide-reaching means of communication, such as a college newspaper.
Letters to the Editor allow student concerns to be collected in a centralized location, empower students to sit with their disquiet long enough to write a short blurb that they would be comfortable publishing, and permit these concerns to remain tangible.
Ensuring students’ concerns are in a tangible and easily identified location can be helpful in tracking which issues have successfully been addressed. Letters to the Editor also help students ensure that the school paper is curated to their liking (almost like an Instagram algorithm) and meets the needs of its community.
Letters to the Editor have not vanished due to any executive decisions; rather, they have ceased to be published due to a lack of submissions from our readers.
While it is understandable that Drew students may not have time to write their frustrations, suggestions or ideas down given their weekly workload, it may be an exercise worth their time if they want to see change.
Various articles in The Acorn have made some real on-campus change. The school paper used to be a place of unfiltered student voice and hopefully, someday soon, it can return to being such.
If you are interested in submitting your own Letter to the Editor, please do so by emailing a document containing the letter to email@example.com. We hope to hear from you soon, and we are excited to hear your voice featured in the paper.
Jocelyn Freeman is a junior majoring in history, English and Chinese.