Free speech key to BGSU future

With spring break just hours away, The BG News staff are just as eager to drop our reporter’s notebooks, digital cameras and illustration pads and rush off to a distant beach – or at bare minimum a parents’ basement – as any other students on campus.

But before our office is closed up for the coming week, we wanted to applaud those in the University community who’ve been active in voicing their opinions about topics both on-campus and off that The BG News has covered this year.

From alleged discriminatory dress codes at downtown clubs to the ins and outs of next year’s student health insurance plan, BGSU faculty, administrators, students and city residents have flooded our editors’ e-mail box on a daily basis with “letters to the editor” and “guest columns.”

The BG News applauds the strong appreciation of free expression and debate that exists on this campus. Some argue that freedom of speech is being suffocated nowadays, but this independent daily student newspaper sees a mountain of evidence in our “inbox” to the contrary every single day.

We’ve worked hard to be the premier public forum for this community on issues that affect your lives in the here and now, along with controversial topics with long-ranging repurcussions that many are looking for more information on.

And though coverage of issues like off-campus bus routes, city zoning laws and higher education funding have rankled the feathers of some in our community, in the end building a public discussion about these issues has helped everyone at BGSU work toward viable solutions.

The respect for freedom of the press on this campus is something that should be applauded by every administrator and student alike, because without it a great strength of BGSU – this daily marketplace of ideas and arguments – would detoriate and disappear.

Beginning March 12 and running through our first week back from spring break is “Sunshine Week,” where newspapers, magazines, radio and television stations across the country make an extra effort to tell their readers about how local public offices comply with open records requests – a right that any citizen can make of their public offices.

As a public institution, the University made efforts last year to inform employees about their obligations to comply with these laws.

And when break ends we’ll be here with the same extra efforts to keep you, our BGSU community, well-informed so we can all continue asking the tough questions.