The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.-
Viewpoint space is available to all readers. The free expression of all opinions through letters is encouraged. Letters must be signed and must include contact information. We make our best effort to publish all letters that we receive. We ask that you keep letters to a reasonable length.
You must email letters directly to the Viewpoint editor at [email protected]. Any published letters or columns are subject to Observer editing policies and copyright. Said material may not be removed/redacted from our platform unless there are factual inaccuracies, in which case the error will subsequently be corrected and the remaining article left unchanged.
Submitting any Letter is subject to the full Viewpoint policy posted below. Please ensure that you have read and fully understand the entirety of the policy.
Anyone is welcome to submit Letters to the Editor, guest columns, quotes, cartoons, comic strips and poems to the Viewpoint Department of The Observer. Items submitted by members of the Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s and Holy Cross community will be given preference for publication.
The opinions expressed in the Viewpoint section are not necessarily those of The Observer. Columns, Letters to the Editor, poems, comic strips, cartoons and quotes are commentaries.
Unsigned editorials represent the opinion of the majority of the Editor-in-Chief, the Managing Editor, Assistant Managing Editors and Department Editors.
All commentaries submitted to The Observer must include the name and phone number of the author. Letters to the Editor may not exceed 350 words, and columns may not exceed 800 words, though exceptions are made at the discretion of the Viewpoint Editor. The Viewpoint Editor may shorten any Letter or column regardless of length or deem it worthy of print in its entirety.
The Observer does not print anonymous Letters to the Editor, columns, comic strips, cartoons, quotes or poems. A majority of the Editorial Board may override this provision if the submission is irreplaceably relevant and the author has a legitimate reason for anonymity.
All material submitted to the Viewpoint Department, including columns, poems, Letters to the Editor, comic strips and cartoons, becomes property of The Observer. Any further use of these commentaries without the written consent of The Observer is prohibited.
Not-for-profit organizations, those organizations which have a reciprocal usage agreement and those organizations of which The Observer is a member may be granted permission to publish commentaries with the permission of the Editor-in-Chief or the permission of the Managing Editor and the Viewpoint Editor.
The Viewpoint Department reserves the right to edit all commentaries. The Observer is committed to fostering civil discourse and has no obligation to print submitted commentaries. Such works will not be printed if they are libelous, unintelligible, irrelevant, obscene or contain ad hominem statements regarding private figures. The Observer will not publish commentaries deemed uncivil at the discretion of the editors. All commentaries will be read by at least the Viewpoint Editor, nightly Viewpoint Editor and the nightly Managing Editor.
All facts that require citation must be cited in submitted material. Submissions must include primary sources that contributed to an author’s argument. The Observer editors reserve the right to reject any given source if it is not primary source material, although exceptions may be made at the discretion of the editors.
Commentaries submitted as Letters to the Editor may not exceed three in number from the same individual or organization within the same academic semester. There is no limit to the number of times an individual or organization may have their commentaries appear in print as columnists.
All commentaries printed in the Viewpoint section must be verified before publication. It is not guaranteed that authors of columns, Letters to the Editor, quotes, comic strips, cartoons and poems will be notified before their work is printed in The Observer.
Only those individuals authorized to speak as representatives for a group will be allowed to use the organization’s name. In such cases, the primary author(s) or the commentary is (are) the individual(s), and the commentary is, in effect, co-signed by the organization.
In exceptions, the author of the previously printed material must give legal, written consent or work from organizations of which The Observer is a member. Syndicated columns are excluded from this procedure.
Paid employees of The Observer are not permitted to have their commentaries appear in the Viewpoint section as Letters to the Editor. Regular columnists and members of the Viewpoint staff are also not eligible to have their commentaries appear in the Viewpoint section as Letters to the Editor. The status of such individuals is determined by the Viewpoint Editor.
Viewpoint columnist applicants must fill out and submit the Viewpoint Columnist application to the Viewpoint Editor. Columnists are hired at the discretion of the Viewpoint Editor. Hiring is done before each school semester begins.
The Observer reserves the right to remove comments on The Observer’s Web site if the editors deem them offensive, lewd, obscene or in poor taste in any fashion. The Observer also reserves the right to ban accounts or disable comments on some or all of the Web site content in reaction to an abuse of the comment function.
Cartoons and comic strips are considered part of the Viewpoint section although they appear in the Sports section. Cartoons and comic strips will be approved by the nightly Sports Editor and both nightly Managing Editors. The editors reserve the right to refuse to run any cartoon or comic strip that the editors deem offensive, discriminatory or hateful at the discretion of the editors .
The views expressed in all commentaries published in The Observer Viewpoint section are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.
The Editorial Board has the authority and discretion to apply and amend this policy as a majority of its members see fit.
Any questions or concerns regarding The Observer Viewpoint policies should be directed to the Viewpoint Editor.
Updated: Sept. 12, 2018