a student-run publication that seeks to provide space for voices that are not being heard on our campus. we are grounded by politics that are radical, anti-racist, anti-sexist, anti-classist, anti-homophobic, anti-ableist, and anti-transphobic (against all forms of oppression) and that reject the structural neo-liberal paradigm that characterizes middlebury college and its official publications
By: Ally Yanson
Hey Hi Hello.
If you have come this far, you are probably either a) somewhat interested in the issues and articles we are publishing (you may even have loudly exclaimed “right on” or done a fist pump at some point while perusing the blog, in which case you are probably awesome), b) you strongly disagree with everything we are writing, and are meticulously examining our site in anticipation of your forthcoming Campus article titled “Beyond the Green? More like Beyond the Shit” (if this is the case, then let’s first work on your ability to make puns, yeah?), or c) you thought this was a blog dedicated to climate change deniers, in which case you are very confused and also very wrong. However, regardless of which camp you fall into, this article is intended to shed some light on the method behind all this madness.
First, the basics. We are a group of students who meet approximately once a week at varying times, mostly because we are still in the manic planning stages. We hail from a range of years and backgrounds, and often disagree. However, we are all united in our feeling that this publication is ESSENTIAL, and in our general politics, as stated in our mission statement (check it out- mission statement). We are planning to publish roughly every two to three days, and all of our pieces will be edited by one or more members of the collective before they are posted. As far as submissions go, we read all submissions, and are always super excited to post submissions from new and different writers. However, if we determine that a submission is not in line with our mission statement, we reserve the right to not post it. We also post an article in the campus every week–these articles are either completely new, or have previously run on the blog.
And now, the important stuff. Firstly, I want to address the idea of anonymity. This idea has previously been a contentious topic both for Campus contributors, and for people who frequently inhabit the lovely world that is the Campus comments section. There seems to be an idea that unless someone is willing to put their name to something, they are in some way choosing to shed all accountability, and trying to make an argument without assuming any of the responsibility that goes with it. It also seems as though many people find anonymous articles not as credible as named ones, presumably because they imagine they are written by robots (this is the best hypothesis I can come up with). We disagree. At beyond the green, we give all of our contributors the option of anonymity, always. Full stop. The reasons behind this are many. One main reason is that not everyone is afforded the same privilege of publishing and assuming safety and respect as a result. Moreover, the issues that we publish are often difficult, personal, and emotional–publishing anonymously affords the author the security and peace of mind necessary in carrying out such a dangerous action. However, the main reason is that we reject the idea that publishing anonymously means losing accountability. The only difference is that instead of engaging with the author, and any pervious conceptions a reader may have about the author, the reader is forced to engage with the ideas. We are of the opinion that the topics we are writing about are important enough to be engaged with on their own– for their own merits, not the authors.
The other potentially controversial choice we have made is the decision to disengage comments. There are certainly arguments to be made about the importance of comments sections– certain websites like xojane.com have made their livelihood in creating safe and welcoming comments sections where people can engage with the ideas, the author, and one another. However, this generally only works when the community is seen as sacred– xojane has created a community where often ignored voices feel free to speak, and members police the boards, ensuring that pointless attacks are not tolerated. In contrast, more often than not, comments sections are toxic places, where people attack one another and the author with little to no accountability or consideration for their fellow readers. Seriously, the internet is a dark place man. In an ideal world, comments sections would, without fail, foster energetic and thoughtful debate. However, even in The Campus’s comment section, comments are often nasty, offensive. And don’t even get us started on “trolls,” those beautiful assholes who get their kicks from poking an already angry giant. Moreover, this decision does not only have to do with the culture of comments sections– it also has to do with the nature of our site. Our site is a place to allow marginalized and ignored voices a safe place to be heard– allowing anonymous attacks would defeat this purpose entirely. This site is not designed to allow those who may disagree with us to stand in the middle of the playground and taunt us. Rather it is a place where we can speak without the expectation of being assaulted. That being said, because these articles will potentially be controversial to students and groups on campus, we fully expect them to publish responses elsewhere– as they are free to do. We hope that the articles we publish encourage personal reflection and discussion offline, and foster connections between those who identify with them.
peace and blessings.