As the new opinion editor of The Pacific Index, I thought I would take this opportunity to introduce myself and share my vision for the upcoming school year.

I would like to see more guest contributors this year. I want to encourage all faculty, staff, students and readers to see the Index as not only a source of quality information, but also as a forum for discussion. This medium should be used not only to read about different viewpoints, but to share one’s own as well.

Spending the majority of my day on campus, I hear a lot of complaining. I’ve heard complaints concerning just about everything you can think of, but every week the inbox for our opinion editor’s email usually sits empty. With a few exceptions, the opinion editor and a few loyal and consistent contributors fill the majority of our opinion pages. To those few loyal and consistent contributors—we thank you. Thank you for sharing your opinions with the Pacific community instead of merely talking about them behind closed doors and in whispers. Thank you for not being afraid to record your viewpoints in a tangible medium because it might upset your boss, your students, your classmates, the administration, your peers or those in your departments. If you see something related to Pacific you want to share with others, whether it is in praise or complaint, you should feel comfortable sharing it if the members of this university are living up to their mission statement.

Upon starting my college curriculum, I was told that learning about different viewpoints was eye opening and educational, even if we disagreed. If this is true, I hope nobody on this campus feels the need to censor himself or herself in an effort to maintain civil relations with those they work with, with those they socialize with or with those they interact with on this campus. I hope nobody is instructed to keep their thoughts to themselves because of the potential to stir up controversy or upset the comfortable and the routine. I hope this hasn’t become a place where you’re encouraged to share your opinions, but only if they are the right ones.

It would certainly be disappointing to find out members of the Pacific community are only accepting of pre-approved ideas and predetermined views decided to be the silent standards of the university—an unspoken code of behavior one must follow in order to be accepted at this institution. I honestly hope Pacific is a place that values controversy in the spirit of progression. I am optimistic that the lack of contribution is not the result of people who are scared of suffering from the negative repercussions of thinking independently, but perhaps just of those who are kept busy beyond their means.

The goal this year is to provide not only an appreciation for different points of view, but also an appreciation for a community where new ideas and ways of thinking are seen as informing, not threatening. I hope this becomes a place where people feel comfortable sharing their opinions and, hopefully, proposing possible solutions if they want to see a change. Share your opinions with the Pacific community right here, on the pages of the Index, whether you think they are widely accepted or more on the unusual side.

The simple act of presenting your thoughts can prompt the change you want to see.

In short, I thought I would do what I am now encouraging all who read this to do—pointing out a weakness in an effort to inspire change.

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