Editorial: Providing Space for All Voices

This past week, The Fordham Ram published “Turn Right” by Brianna Lyman. This opinion article attracted a great deal of controversy due to its conservative stance and radical, hypothetical solution to the issue of illegal immigration. In addition, a few factual errors in the article evaded the editing process at The Fordham Ram.

These errors have been acknowledged by our staff and steps have been taken to ensure a similar mistake does not occur again.

However, despite these issues, The Fordham Ram still stands by publishing this writer’s opinion in our paper.

We at The Fordham Ram would like to address the criticism and explain exactly why we support the First Amendment right to freedom of speech on our opinion pages.

As the school’s official newspaper, The Fordham Ram has an obligation to offer op-ed space to a all members of the Fordham community, even those expressing unpopular views in the eyes of the majority of the student body.

It is an American tradition to publish unpopular opinions, stretching back to the very first newspaper in the American colonies in 1690. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press were enshrined in our Bill of Rights specifically to strengthen our country by allowing free expression.

The Fordham Ram upholds centuries of American tradition when we support the First Amendment by publishing articles that cause a debate.

Given the huge amounts of web traffic generated by these recent conservative op-ed pieces, such as “Check Your Liberal Privilege” by Ryan Quinn (Dec. 7, 2016), which has generated about 24,000 clicks on our website to date, we can say that The Fordham Ram has succeeded in increasing political dialogue on campus.

The student body at Fordham is largely liberal, so our newspaper mostly publishes liberal opinion articles.

Conservative Fordham students, however, should have equal opportunity to share their views, despite being a minority on campus.

The Fordham Ram accepts and will continue to accept opinion articles from everyone — students, faculty, alumni, administrators and anyone with a campus connection. If Fordham students or other readers are unhappy with opinion articles published in The Fordham Ram, we encourage them to submit op-ed pieces with counter-arguments or letters to the editor.

The Fordham Ram is also committed to creating a safe space for members of the community to express their views.

At times, the reactions of students to some recent articles on our website and social media have made the writers feel as if they are under personal attack.

Name calling and online bullying do not foster a forum that encourages productive conversation. We call upon the student body to be more civil and open themselves up to constructive discussion.

There are 7 comments

  1. J. H. B.

    The response that this opinion piece provoked quite honestly astonishes me. All this young woman did was provide some personal view-points on immigration which, in the grand scheme of things, ought probably to be seen as rather moderate. Compared to some of the immigration policies this country has adopted over rougly the past half-century, such as the one, for example, that President Eisenhower instituted with respect to undocumented Mexican migrants early in his presidency, this young woman’s proposals are in honesty somewhat mild. At the base of it, she is simply advocating for the rule of law. The United States actually has one of the more lenient immigration arrangements in the Western and Latin world; even today, several European countries are more stringent on immigration, both culturally and legally, than America is. The unfettered vitriol directed at Lyman, especially the numerous stupid ad hominems discharged against her, is sorrowing to see, especially considering the cogent and rather polite way in which she delivered her argument. Those who call her “racist” or “privileged and ignorant” without evidence are merely slandering her in an effort to discredit her argument, in the process saying far more about themselves than about Lyman and her article. It is a sad thing if, today, we cannot even have a small opinion article that strays from the leftist narrative without the leftist community rising up in arms. Make no mistake- this university’s leadership and this university’s student body are a combination of rightists and leftists, and the fact that we need an outpouring of supercilious assurances that “all opinions, even conservative ones,” will be accepted whenever a relatively right-wing opinion is aired is, in truth, rather disgusting. Should we have ejected Cardinal Dulles from the university for believing that mass deportations might be justified in certain circumstances? The American people and their representatives have a right to control their border- you may not like the way in which some citizens want to exercise that right, but it remains a right nonetheless, and citizens are not “racist ” when they take a strong view on national sovereignty- they are merely exercising their innate rights. In addition, if I’m not mistaken, surveys suggest that a majority of Gabelli students support Republican policies, a fact which makes the Fordham Ram’s statements rather perplexing. And also, if Rose Hill is liberal it is probably not by an overwhelming margin, because surveys taken before the primaries suggested a substantial base of support for Republican candidates, Rubio in particular. I would opine that harping on the minority status of conservative views -which, in certain contexts, might actually be the majority- is not the best way to write an impartial article. I would make the same point, in principle, to many of the commenters on Lyman’s opinion piece. Has the level of our public discussion degenerated to such an extent that we cannot have a mild discussion of left-versus-right policy without it sparking a maelstrom of insults, identity politics, and immature comments? Do we need an outpouring of insult, derision, and condescension whenever one of our fellow students voices an opinion which, in reality, is held by a good segment of the student body? Not that the right doesn’t have its own problems, but with respect to the imbroglio surrounding Miss Lyman’s article the blame lies almost entirely on the regressive left. To put it frankly, if you want to be a respected member of the community, hurling ungrounded insults is probably not the best strategy.

  2. Alumsigh SubmittingACommentIsHard

    @Former Ram
    Yikes, someone is bitter, let’s address your critiques.

    “Lots of people have problems with conservatives having the right to free speech. Read the comment section of Brianna’s article” -> This literally doesn’t prove your point at all. Her article was racist so people got mad. A factually correct, non-bigoted article wouldn’t receive the same ire. Besides, liberal presidents weren’t the ones to shut out several media organizations….can’t say the same for conservative presidents. Sad!

    “Yes, I agree. But I after reading Brianna’s article several time I saw no mention of any such language, only the desire that our immigration existing laws be enforced” -> She called a group of human beings, illegal. Like there were other terms like undocumented, but she chose the xenophobic one.

    “This is incorrect. Please read Breitbart. Those articles are often factually incorrect, and many people agree with them” -> In my comment, I said journalists. Breitbart doesn’t have journalists. Seriously, don’t even pretend that people like Milo are journalists and not trolls.

    “This is an opinion, not one that everyone shares” -> You’re right, but not everyone has been taught by professional journalists and can give an opinion through that lens.

    “Incorrect. Almost all of the articles The Ram publishes are liberal, and the majority of conservative articles The Ram has posted have attracted considerable ‘flack.’ You can go back and read them all at your leisure” -> I read them. They attracted flack for the lack of research. Not the opinion itself. The problem is the opinion stemmed from the lack of research. Hence, why you are probably confused.

    “96% of Fordham Faculty donated to the Democratic Party in the past 5 years. Since the start of the school year, The Ram has published 53 articles with an overtly conservative or liberal position. 42 of those articles leaned liberal. 11 leaned conservative” -> Okay cool, but faculty aren’t the only people on campus. Also, ideology isn’t the same as political parties. So, a faculty member could be a conservative democrat.

    “Wow, you must live in a closed bubble then” -> Are you sure about that? Because, I don’t know about you, but I had a lot of friends and was involved in many clubs. Yes, I know many liberals, but the conservatives were still a sizable population. You do know that sizable does not mean majority, right?

    “1. The comment section of Brianna’s article proves conservative speech is under attack. 2. Newspapers, especially the Ram, are keen on protecting liberal and conservative speech.” -> 1. See my first comment. 2. Based on The Ram’s articles, it seems that the staff gets more offended when people challenge conservative opinions. Meanwhile, I’ve seen comments attacking liberal opinions on this site, yet the staff didn’t feel the need to speak up. I think they assume that liberal opinions are the default, but that can’t be claimed in a world of Trump, Brexit, etc.

    “Liberals don’t agree with conservatives, and conservatives don’t always agree with liberals. Way to go. Good job discerning that.” -> Yes, but at least liberals actually mean it when they say that they stand for free speech.

    “Yes, some people have a problem with the protest for reasons they believe are valid. There are differences of opinion.” -> That was an example of how a conservative opinion boiled down to “I don’t agree with this type of expression”. Sure, it’s ‘valid’, but that wasn’t my point. Seriously, what was your reading comprehension score on the SATs?

    “This comment is out of place and needs context” -> You want context? Look at outspoken conservative Trump’s press policy. Liberal Obama would never.

    “My main point though, is that there’s a difference between providing a space for conservative speech and providing a platform for bigotry.” “Publishing a conservative opinion is allowing for a different point of view to be shared.” –> If this is all correct, why does the rest of this comment confuse you? Brianna’s article is bigotry

    “The factually incorrect part of Bryana’s article appears to have been edited and corrected. Brianna’s article advocating for enforcement of current immigration laws is not bigoted, and throwing that word around makes you appear a) histrionic and b) uneducated” -> If you actually understand immigration and immigration policy, you would understand that Brianna’s opinion is uneducated. I don’t have enough time to explain all of that, but I beg you to please read a book or do a Google search on the subject first.

    “Incorrect. Pretending that these opinions don’t exist on our campus is how people get blind-sighted when people like Bannon rise to power or Trump gets elected. This is exactly what happened in the election. The Ram did the right thing” -> So, let’s see. You had a problem with me saying that conservatives are sizable on Fordham’s campus and you agree that there’s a difference between giving conservatism a space and giving bigotry a space? So, now this critique makes no sense. If anything, this proves my point. Publishing alt-right, incorrect pieces like Brianna’s under the label of “conservatism” just validates those opinions, which yes, do have real life consequences. You’re living in a bubble if you don’t see how people get hurt with this type of talk.

    “No, you are misguided. Very” -> Too bad your attempts to discredit me are flimsier than a straw roof.

    “Wow, so much to unpack here. 1) Articles in the op-ed section are clearly labeled under in the About section on the Ram’s site. 2) Articles with a conservative stance on immigration are not hate speech. 3) The Ram staff has high journalistic integrity, as evidenced by its status nationally and a read through of any news article” -> 1. Op-eds still need facts. 2. They are hate speech when they haven’t been well researched and only serve to stir up anger against immigrant communities. That’s literally my whole point. 3. Did The Ram win those awards due to those bigoted articles? Besides, these articles are a recent trend. The Ram winning an award before now doesn’t affect their future.

    “Clicks mean nothing to The Ram because they generate no advertising revenue for The Ram. Also, student journalism awards are not earned by “clicks.” So this is clearly not why The Ram publishes conservative articles” -> Clicks mean exposure. Also, my friend who used to work at The Ram said that they were trying to get ad revenue but faced roadblocks, so it’s not like the possibility to make revenue from online ads in the near future. Again, my point is these articles are labeled conservatism but are actually just bigoted. So, your point is futile.

    “Conversation was literally jumpstarted by the article” -> Backlash isn’t dialogue.

    “The Ram did not tell students anything of that nature, since The Ram did not write the op-ed, and neither did Brianna through her article” Brianna did do that with her article. You’re too uneducated to understand why. By publishing it, The Ram is also at fault.

    “The Ram is not a Jesuit paper, so this point is void”-> The 🙂 Ram 🙂 is 🙂 Fordham’s 🙂 journal 🙂 of 🙂 record 🙂 and 🙂 Fordham 🙂 is 🙂 a 🙂 Jesuit 🙂 school 🙂 which 🙂 ingrains 🙂 Jesuit 🙂 values 🙂 into 🙂 its 🙂 students :)

    Anyway, nice attempt, sweetie :*
    Sincerely,
    Alumsigh

    1. Former Ram

      See, now I just feel bad for you. You really don’t get it. I’m worried for you. You need to do better. You need to discern the difference between party politics and real racism, xenophobia and bigotry, You need to hone your critical thinking skills. And you really really need to shake the belief a point is made better by accentuating every other space in a sentence with an emoji. That’s embarrassing and frankly, childish.

      So this is where I leave you. But before I do, I will leave some parting notes to you “critiques” — aka, your responses masked as real criticism but clearly just inflammatory reactions to the fact that someone called you out on not using critical reasoning. It is my hope that if you internalize these notes, you might be one step closer to being able to hold up in a real argument.

      1. The newspaper is not always going to print op-eds that you like, or believe in. You need to take a deep breath, and accept that and move.
      2. Calling someone an illegal immigrant is NOT wrong or xenophobic. Obviously we can all conclude that everyone is human being, the same blood runs within us yada yada yada, and your attempt to paint Brianna as someone who cannot understand that just because she used a widely accepted term to describe people that live in this country illegally is really, really pathetic and needlessly polarizing.
      3. Arguing for the enforcement of preexisting immigration laws does not inherently make someone a racist or bigot. My lord, you’re acting like she thinks brown people should be thrown into a pit of fire. You have no ability — and evidently, no desire — to discern the difference between discussing the enforcement of laws vs. real prejudice. You can take comfort in knowing that is is not just a “you” problem. Many left leaning young people seem to lack this capability.
      4. You attempt to paint The Ram as only attempting to “stir up controversy.” For someone so keen on pointing out the need for facts, you threw this statement out there without a shred of evidence. You need to place more confidence in your fellow students. Do you think they relish in knowing that people will always paint the media out to be the bad guy in these types of situations? It is far more likely that they desire to represent the fringes of the student body who really hold these beliefs on immigration, and simply lacked the editing skills to make this sadly incoherent author appear sophisticated in her article. Also, your response to my noting that The Ram gets no financial benefit from running these articles doesn’t hold up. Even if it wanted to, it doesn’t. So it still had no incentive to have a viral article. Also the notion of exposure is laughable. The only person who gets exposure for writing the article is the author (who I bet really wished she didn’t at this point). The Ram is a newspaper which puts its emphasis on news coverage. It wins awards based off of news. The opinion section is for the student contributors, and the Fordham community.
      5. You keep labeling this article as “false” and “incorrect,” which leads me to believe that you may need to refer to the dictionary to assess what those words mean. An opinion article cannot be false. And the false portion of her article, stating that illegal immigrants do not pay taxes, was an editing error and corrected as such. You may “disagree” with the article, but once again, calling it “false” makes you sound well..not like a college graduate.
      6. People get hurt, and you need to deal with that. People enter countries illegally and get hurt. People get deported from countries and get hurt. Families get torn apart. It’s sad. But we don’t live in a world with open borders, no matter how badly you wish at night we did. And nobody — not illegal immigrants, not real bigots, not even you, my dear classmate — get a safe space to hide from opinion articles.

      Good luck, my fellow Ram, with your future endeavors. I hope you’ve learned something from this experience.

  3. Yasmin

    As one of your staff writers, this is disappointing to hear from the editors. It’s not about “unpopular” opinions. It’s actually great to give a platform for underrepresented voices, and I’d like to think Fordham is diverse enough that our community is well-aware that different viewpoints exist. What is concerning is this recent trend of inflammatory op-eds that are based entirely on falsehoods, not fact-checked or verified in any capacity, and clearly intended to stir controversy and get people talking about the Ram. I get it, it is sometimes hard to get students to care about the good journalism in the newspaper – but this is not the solution. As the official university paper, the Ram should always verify information and provide a platform for discussion of different perspectives – based in and supported by facts. These op-eds do not encourage discussion, they only spark more anger and division within our community and in the worst cases, make certain demographics feel unsafe when the official school news source gives a platform for blatantly discriminatory statements. You say the comments are bullying the authors? Yes they can get pretty nasty, so you should not put a writer in that position unless they are prepared to defend their statements with facts instead of whining about “liberals” and making “triggered” jokes. If the Ram wants to turn into a tabloid, then by all means become one.

  4. Alumsigh SubmittingACommentIsHard

    Dear Ram,

    You do realize that no one, even liberals, have a problem with conservatives having the right to free speech? However, liberals (and conservatives) have a problem with blatantly racist and xenophobic language. (Also, journalists, regardless of ideology, have a problem with factually incorrect pieces). Those articles mentioned were badly written. Trust me, a well written and factually correct conservative article would not catch as much flack.

    Also, why do you claim that Fordham is so liberal? Even if there are more liberals, the conservatives are still a sizable number considering every other person I met on this campus was a Conservative Republican. Moreover, how come your paper is so keen on “protecting” conservative speech, even though it’s not under attack? Meanwhile, those same conservative opinions have problems with liberal speech. I mean, your paper literally published an opinion where a writer criticized Colin Kaepernick’s protest. It seems that conservatives want a safe space devoid of anything remotely liberal.

    My main point though, is that there’s a difference between providing a space for conservative speech and providing a platform for bigotry. Publishing a conservative opinion is allowing for a different point of view to be shared. Publishing a bigoted and factually incorrect opinion validates that bigotry. And that validation has real life consequences. If you don’t think so, then please question why Steve Bannon, who’s own easily searchable record paints him as a neo-nazi, is able to be in such a high position in our government. Seriously, Ram staff, if you’re journalists dedicated to integrity, this shouldn’t be that difficult of a concept to grasp.

    Overall, please consider why Breitbart isn’t considered real news when the New York Times is. Because if you continue to publish hate speech under the guise of conservative free speech, you’ll soon be known as Fordham’s “alternative-fact” journal of record.

    Sincerely,
    Fordham Alum

    P.S. Yes, online clicks are exciting but let’s not sacrifice journalistic integrity for the sake of online popularity. News flash, by publishing those pieces, you’re not jumpstarting a conversation. You’re just telling students of color, immigrant students, etc, that they are not welcomed on this campus. And there is nothing Jesuit about that.

    1. Former Ram

      Yikes, lets edit this comment:
      “Dear Ram,

      You do realize that no one, even liberals, have a problem with conservatives having the right to free speech?”
      –>Incorrect. Lots of people have problems with conservatives having the right to free speech. Read the comment section of Brianna’s article. “However, liberals (and conservatives) have a problem with blatantly racist and xenophobic language.” –> Yes, I agree. But I after reading Brianna’s article several time I saw no mention of any such language, only the desire that our immigration existing laws be enforced. “(Also, journalists, regardless of ideology, have a problem with factually incorrect pieces).” –>This is incorrect. Please read Breitbart. Those articles are often factually incorrect, and many people agree with them. “Those articles mentioned were badly written.” –>This is an opinion, not one that everyone shares. “Trust me, a well written and factually correct conservative article would not catch as much flack.” –> Incorrect. Almost all of the articles The Ram publishes are liberal, and the majority of conservative articles The Ram has posted have attracted considerable ‘flack.’ You can go back and read them all at your leisure.

      “Also, why do you claim that Fordham is so liberal?” –> 96% of Fordham Faculty donated to the Democratic Party in the past 5 years. https://fordhamram.com/2016/10/19/faculty-donates-largely-to-democrats/ Since the start of the school year, The Ram has published 53 articles with an overtly conservative or liberal position. 42 of those articles leaned liberal. 11 leaned conservative. “Even if there are more liberals, the conservatives are still a sizable number considering every other person I met on this campus was a Conservative Republican.” –> Wow, you must live in a closed bubble then. “Moreover, how come your paper is so keen on “protecting” conservative speech, even though it’s not under attack?”–> 1. The comment section of Brianna’s article proves conservative speech is under attack. 2. Newspapers, especially the Ram, are keen on protecting liberal and conservative speech. “Meanwhile, those same conservative opinions have problems with liberal speech.” –>Liberals don’t agree with conservatives, and conservatives don’t always agree with liberals. Way to go. Good job discerning that. “I mean, your paper literally published an opinion where a writer criticized Colin Kaepernick’s protest.” –>Yes, some people have a problem with the protest for reasons they believe are valid. There are differences of opinion. “It seems that conservatives want a safe space devoid of anything remotely liberal.” –>This comment is out of place and needs context.

      “My main point though, is that there’s a difference between providing a space for conservative speech and providing a platform for bigotry.” –> This is correct. “Publishing a conservative opinion is allowing for a different point of view to be shared.” –> This is also correct. “Publishing a bigoted and factually incorrect opinion validates that bigotry.” –> The factually incorrect part of Bryana’s article appears to have been edited and corrected. Brianna’s article advocating for enforcement of current immigration laws is not bigoted, and throwing that word around makes you appear a) histrionic and b) uneducated. “And that validation has real life consequences. If you don’t think so, then please question why Steve Bannon, who’s own easily searchable record paints him as a neo-nazi, is able to be in such a high position in our government.” –> Incorrect. Pretending that these opinions don’t exist on our campus is how people get blind-sighted when people like Bannon rise to power or Trump gets elected. This is exactly what happened in the election. The Ram did the right thing. “Seriously, Ram staff, if you’re journalists dedicated to integrity, this shouldn’t be that difficult of a concept to grasp.” –> No, you are misguided. Very.

      “Overall, please consider why Breitbart isn’t considered real news when the New York Times is. Because if you continue to publish hate speech under the guise of conservative free speech, you’ll soon be known as Fordham’s “alternative-fact” journal of record.” –> Wow, so much to unpack here. 1) Articles in the op-ed section are clearly labeled under in the About section (https://fordhamram.com/about-us/) on the Ram’s site. 2) Articles with a conservative stance on immigration are not hate speech. 3) The Ram staff has high journalistic integrity, as evidenced by its status nationally and a read through of any news article.

      “Sincerely,
      Fordham Alum”

      P.S. “Yes, online clicks are exciting but let’s not sacrifice journalistic integrity for the sake of online popularity.” –> Clicks mean nothing to The Ram because they generate no advertising revenue for The Ram. Also, student journalism awards are not earned by “clicks.” So this is clearly not why The Ram publishes conservative articles. “News flash, by publishing those pieces, you’re not jumpstarting a conversation.” –> Conversation was literally jumpstarted by the article. “You’re just telling students of color, immigrant students, etc, that they are not welcomed on this campus.” –> The Ram did not tell students anything of that nature, since The Ram did not write the op-ed, and neither did Brianna through her article. “And there is nothing Jesuit about that.” –> The Ram is not a Jesuit paper, so this point is void.

      Check your facts. You scored lower than The Ram did.

  5. mecha space jesuit 420

    Lol “stop cyberbullying me because im an apologist for fascism!!!” when u learn to stop disrespecting nonwhite people then maybe i’ll respect ur opinion sweaty :))))

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