An Editors’ Note
“The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.”
That sentence appears at the end of every Viewpoint column printed in these pages, and these 18 words sum up this newspaper’s policy regarding the opinions we put in print.
In the Oct. 7 edition of The Observer, Louis Bertolotti, a biweekly columnist, wrote a piece entitled “Respect life beyond this week” that argued forcefully against abortion. We have since received a letter from associate professor of Romance languages and literatures Ben A. Heller, which runs above, that calls for The Observer to apologize for printing a column he believes reduces the debate around abortion “to the lowest and most irresponsible level of discourse.”
We at The Observer welcome all opinions, arguments, comments and criticisms. That is why we printed Berolotti’s column, and why we print Heller’s letter today. We may not agree with one side or another, but we believe everyone in the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s community deserves a forum to voice their thoughts.
At the same time, we reserve the right to not run a column, guest column or letter to the editor if it makes personal attacks, is unnecessarily inflammatory or otherwise unsuitable for print. We edit Viewpoint pieces for grammar and Associated Press and Observer style. We never want to censor someone’s beliefs.
Striking a balance between these two concerns is never easy, but we make every decision with the full knowledge that no opinion piece ever necessarily expresses the views of The Observer.
Bertolotti’s views do not necessarily represent the view of everyone at The Observer, but we stand by the decision to allow his opinions into print. We are also grateful to professor Heller for allowing us the opportunity to clarify our decision-making process, and we welcome his input. Lastly, we encourage students, faculty, staff, administrators and other members of the Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s community to continue to write to us about the issues that matter to you.