In our opinion: Weekly house piece creates needed dialogue

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    Have you ever noticed this gray space in the upper left-hand corner of The Universe’s opinion page?

    Considering that the editorial page is perhaps the most-read section of this newspaper, chances are that most of our readers have seen this section of the opinion section.

    And, if you are reading this right now, something about the editorial written in this space caught your eye enough to stop and read it.

    But how much attention do readers pay to it (it being the house piece editorial, which is the opinion of The Universe’s editorial board)?

    Judging by the number of responses received about the issues presented in the weekly house piece, this little section of gray space wasn’t as successful at generating dialogue in the opinion page as was the Readers’ Forum section or the Viewpoint section.

    Our hope is that this will change with the upcoming semester.

    In prefacing these comments, we would like to clarify the purpose of and the procedure for developing the weekly house piece. The purpose is to address issues relevant to the BYU community and provide insightful commentary. The opinions are those of The Universe editorial board and, as stated below, are not necessarily those of Brigham Young University or The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The subject of each editorial is decided upon at a weekly editorial board meeting. This meeting is open to the public, and all interested parties are encouraged to attend.

    In case you missed them, the following are some of the issues dealt with recently in the house piece: gambling on college athletics, the Sunday closing of the Farmington swimming pool, video game violence, and the ACLU’s complaints against the LDS Church over restrictions on the new walkway between Temple Square and the Joseph Smith Memorial Building in Salt Lake.

    It is our hope that the house piece serves its purpose as a vehicle for generating dialogue amongst our readers. And considering the number of letters to the editor that arrive each week, readers of The Universe have plenty to say.

    Thanks to those who contributed letters, the Readers’ Forum has once again been alive and colorful throughout Spring and Summer terms. Some of these letters have addressed new issues (like the shooting at Columbine High School and the hysteria over Star Wars), and some are old favorites (like students who wear short shorts and marriage at BYU). Letters to the editor have again succeeded in sparking discussion and generating response.

    In the coming semester, we encourage students to contribute the same type of response to issues addressed by The Universe’s house piece. It is our experience that some of the most insightful commentary has come in response to the issues presented in the house piece. For example, when the issue of the Sunday closing of the Farmington community swimming pool was addressed, a handful of responses from Farmington residents helped create a successful dialogue. These responses were from readers who took the time to comment on an issue that was important to them.

    In order to generate this type of dialogue, the Editorial Board will do its best to focus on the issues which are of paramount importance and interest to our readers. Suggestions are not only welcome, but vital to the success of the opinion page.

    This section of The Universe is unique in its ability to provide readers with a forum to express their opinions. Similarly, we encourage readers to critically read our opinions in the weekly house piece and offer up their own views for others to see.

    In short, please don’t forget the gray space.

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