A treasured tradition within The Rensselaer Polytechnic is the editorial notebook. Each week, two editors compose a piece of approximately 500 words which conveys their thoughts and feelings toward a topic of their choice. Editors are free to discuss any topic. Many choose to write about topics they feel passionate about, especially those which have relevance to current events. For example, over the last few issues, three of our female staff members have written about feminism and gender, a topic which affects them especially. This week, one of our Greek editors wrote about rush and fraternities, a topic which he feels strongly passionate about. There are some perennial notebook topics, such as farewells from graduating seniors who have been long-time editors.
Since these articles often contain controversial opinions, they frequently generate commentary, criticism, and even written responses from our readership. If these written responses are submitted to The Poly, they will be published as Letters to the Editor or My View’s. Notebooks are an editor’s primary expression of printed free speech, which may turn out to be unpopular. As such, last week, a reader responded to one of the previous notebooks about feminism, which we then published. The Poly welcomes and encourages the open discussion of the topics which we write about. It is our hope that these discussions remain in good character, and enrich those who participate. Anyone who wishes to do so may compose and submit a response to an article or even initiate a new conversation.
The purpose of notebooks is not to insult or defame. The content of notebooks solely expresses the opinions of those who write them. During the copy-reading process, the original meaning intended by the author is not allowed to be skewed or modified.
While notebooks express the opinions of individual editors, staff editorials express the opinions of the entire Polytechnic staff. Each and every editor of The Poly must read and approve of every staff editorial. The staff editorial typically contains the consensus opinion about a topic to which the entire staff believes the student body as a whole should be exposed to.