I love it when CisternYard News receives criticism.
Seriously, ask the staff. I love inviting people to our meetings to critique our work. As editor in chief, I relish the opportunity to tear something apart and rebuild it better.
I am not writing today because criticism bothers me – I am writing because it excites me. The criticism and conversation that an article of ours inspired among the student body thrills me.
Bradley Harrison’s opinion article has received more than 15,000 views in three days. And whether you agree with his sentiments or not, it did provoke some pertinent questions: who makes the final decision about school evacuations? President McConnell? The Emergency Management Team? Someone in the state or county government? Approximately 30.6 percent of students are from out-of-state. And as one commenter rightly pointed out, it is a privilege to be able to purchase a flight home in situations like these. For those of us with that privilege, what obligation do we have to get out of the way so that actual Lowcountry residents can evacuate? What is our responsibility to our community when people who don’t have a safety net are encountering empty gas station pumps and sparse grocery store aisles?
I don’t lie awake at night wishing that the student body agreed with everything that CisternYard News writes. And I certainly don’t wake up in the morning scheming over new ways to criticize Glenn McConnell or our school’s administration.
What I want is for this student body to care about something other than where they’re going to get drunk tonight and who won “Most Beautiful Campus.”
Over 15,000 people read that article, which means there are more than 15,000 unique opinions on it. My wish is that in the future, thousands of College of Charleston students will also have an opinion on the gentrification that is taking place in our city. I hope that thousands of students will become passionately involved in the conversation about racism on our campus, or the allegations that continue to dog Greek organizations. I hope that 14,000 people will take to their social media accounts to discuss the lack of affordable housing in Charleston, the food deserts, the continuous threat of flooding, the rising cost of tuition.
Our website features cut-and-dry writing about politics, art, sports, you name it. But it also features a section labelled Opinion. This staff voices our opinions because we believe in cultivating a student voice that is active, engaged and critical when necessary. The fact that one of our articles inspired criticism doesn’t bother me in the least, because it is a reflection of how active, engaged and critical our readership is.
I love it when CisternYard receives criticism, because it means you are awake.