Editor’s Note: A Needed Part of the Campus Discussion

In my editor’s note opening the volume, I discussed the different iterations in the Review’s history. Past volumes antagonized groups to bring concerns to the Stanford community, and others had little to do with Stanford itself, raising awareness about national and international happenings. In my volume, I tried to bring the focus back to Stanford to shed light on issues that would have been ignored otherwise.

Now, the closing issue of the volume includes an article about a predecessor Stanford Review from the early 1980’s by our longtime features editor, Jean Paul Blanchard. According to editor Peter Maillet, in his Review, “We’re not out to alienate, we’re just trying to get people to think.” At the same time, other conservative campus publications were popping up around the country and were gaining notoriety for inflammatory content that alienated many people in order to make their points.

When Peter Thiel and Norman Book founded the ongoing Stanford Review in 1987, Thiel’s editor’s note in the very first issue echoed Maillet’s mission to “get people to think.” To the *Review’s *founders, the paper served to “present alternative viewpoints on a wide range of current issues in the Stanford community,” “create a forum for rational debate,” and “challenge those who after reading this paper, still disagree with us.”

In this volume of The Stanford Review, our staff has sought to do exactly that: present ideas you don’t hear about every day, encourage others to engage in the debate, and get people talking. Not all volumes have succeeded, but our recent marketing survey reveals that Stanford’s campus views us to be as relevant as ever.

The need for alternative opinions – the kind you don’t hear every day from the Administration, student government, or the liberal establishment opinions from your uninformed dormmate – is greater than ever before. Surveys have shown that political magazines gain more subscribers when the opposing party is in power. With President Obama in the White House, with throngs of his blind admirers here on campus, and with business-as-usual senators winning at least two-thirds of the seats in the Undergraduate Senate, The Stanford Review will continue its mission by providing substantive news content and offering opinions that would otherwise be glossed over.

Not everyone wants to hear the different perspectives we bring, but, then again, all opinions meet resistance somewhere. That, however, is what makes us so important: the Review is willing and able to raise the points no one else will, and in doing so, we hold players at Stanford accountable for their actions when no one else will.

The paper and our staff have made great strides over the past year. With our regularly updated blog, new website, emphasis on news, and rapidly growing staff, we are the best equipped to deliver those different articles and viewpoints. It’s what makes us Stanford’s investigative news powerhouse.

Since January, we led the charge reporting on the Westboro Baptist Church protest, brought to light the Daily’s financial habits and relationship with special fees, had the best ASSU elections coverage on campus, and, more recently, reported on campus activism, especially on the living wage and divestment.

Stanford needs our work, because it adds to campus discourse in ways other sources of news and opinion do not. It also has an impact. For example, the Daily had no intention of revealing the members of their editorial board and bringing transparency to its endorsement process until the Review began questioning them for an article we were already writing.

Our writers are also involved in many other areas of Stanford’s community.  Next year, we have five staff members who will take some role in the ASSU, including the Senate, the Nominations Commission, and the Elections Commission. Still others are returning to the Review after becoming disenchanted with the ASSU.

Better yet, half of our returning staff is from the Class of 2013, so if you like what you’ve seen, you can expect another three years of exciting, quality work from some of our best contributors.

Next year will be an important one at Stanford.  The University will continue to face budget cuts, which will raise questions of values and priorities when deciding where to allocate limited resources. SUES, the Study on Undergraduate Education at Stanford, will move forward with an important opportunity to bring classics back into the classroom and include more conservative and alternative thought in the undergraduate curriculum.

Special interests will be at it again, with buzzwords like “sustainability,” “wellness,” and “diversity” each pushing their own agendas while trying to hide costs and negative externalities while ignoring root problems.

If you only want to hear proponents’ talking points and the establishment line, you shouldn’t pick up The Stanford Review. But if you want to challenge those establishment views, hear alternative viewpoints, engage in debate, and get the whole story, then you’ve come to the right place. The Review will build on the work we’ve done this year and stand at the forefront of all of these issues and more next year. We aren’t out to offend or alienate, but we will give you something new to think about.

When I first arrived at Stanford, I joined the Review because there was no other conservative outlet on campus – no College Republicans, no Conservative Society. I’m glad that I did. The Review actually makes a real difference, which I’ve been able to see over these past four years. Stanford has become more hospitable to conservatives and conservative ideas. Working with the remarkable people who made that happen has been one of the most worthwhile parts of my undergraduate experience, and you can continue to expect great things from them next year and beyond.

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