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Why the Student Newspaper should change its name?

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The Fountainhead

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Hello Everyone,

Let me start by giving you a little background. I have always wanted to write in the College Student Newspaper. Now that I am enrolled in college and I can successfully write in the newspaper. But there is one thing that is stopping me: the name of the newspaper. Its called Voice of the Voiceless. I tried to talk to the executive editor of the newspaper and he kind of agreed with me and asked me if I can write an artcile on: the reason why they should change the name of the newspaper. Given below is my article and I wanted to know if the arguments I present are valid (from an objectivist's point of view).

(BMCC is the name of my college: Borough of Manhattan Community College).

Here you go:

This article pertains to the name of the BMMC student newspaper which is currently called
Voice of the Voiceless
. The reason why I am writing this article is because I want to change the name of the student newspaper. Given below is the stand of my argument:

First of all, no one in this country can rightfully label themselves as voiceless, not as long as there is Bill of Rights in the constitution of the United States of America. The first amendment clearly states that: “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press…” Freedom of speech does not demand that you should be provided with a microphone by the public to advocate your views. It merely gives one the freedom to advocate his/her views without the fear of forcible suppression by government or by any private citizen. So if no one in this country posses the power to stop an individual advocating their views then why are the students of BMCC being called voiceless.

Furthermore, the name Voice of the Voiceless declaring that this newspaper is the voice of the BMCC community. Don’t confuse the name Voice of the Voiceless with Voice for the Voiceless. The former is portraying the newspaper’s editors as the voice of BMCC students, whereas the latter is identifying itself as the means for BMCC students to convey their thoughts and opinions.

There are approximately 17,000 students enrolled at BMCC, out of which less than one hundred students will get the chance to write in the Voice of the Voiceless. It is likely that their writings will include their own perspectives and value judgments i.e. they will write from their own point of view and according to what they think is right or wrong.

Human beings are not robots that are programmed to think alike. We are all a diversity of individuals who have gone through diverse experiences in their lives and as a result, have formed special meanings and associations with this world. When it comes to analyzing a specific event we all interpret it according to what it means to us as individuals. When it comes to friendship, marriage or any type of relations, we like to bracket together with persons that share common philosophy with us. When we elect officials for the House of the Representatives, we choose those individuals that share our goals and interests. By casting a vote for those individuals, we delegate them the right to speak and act on our behalf.

But no such elections have been conducted at BMCC and nor have the17, 000 students delegated to the editors of this newspaper the right to speak on their behalf. When someone writes an article in this newspaper, that person is solely expressing his/her own value judgments. It will be impossible for that person to incorporate the viewpoints of other 16,999 students and write an article based on that.

Presently, when I am writing this article I am conveying my own standpoint and not of the rest of the students. Many of them might agree with my stance, but it is more than unlikely that all 16,999 students will have the same opinion as mine. So it will be an utter injustice if I called myself Voice of the Voiceless i.e. if I declared that all 16,999 students agree with me and my voice is their voice.

If one follows the same principle, how can small number students who are going to write in this newspaper are identify themselves as the Voice of the Voiceless. We are not living in a dictatorship where a dictator or any other person can forcibly declare themselves are voice of the people.

I don’t know about anyone else, but I really don’t want or need any one pretending to be my voice when that person doesn’t know anything about my philosophy, when I have not given that person the right to speak on my behalf and when I do not consider myself voiceless. I will stand up and speak for myself whenever I deem necessary, as I am doing right now. So therefore, I want the school newspaper to change its name from Voice of the Voiceless to some other name. If you have any suggestions- speak up, YOU ARE NOT VOICELESS.

Edited by The Fountainhead
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In summary, your objections to "Voice of the Voiceless" are:

  • The students are not voiceless
  • Even another name implying "Voice of the Students" is incorrect, because it isn't the voice of all

I agree with the first point; however "voiceless" can also be interpreted as "those who do not have a forum to express themselves", and the magazine offers them this forum. So, while it may not be an ideal word for the name, it is a bit ambiguous.

I think the second point is weak. By analogy, couldn't one say that "The Tampa News" does not tell us about all news that happens in Tampa?

On the topic itself, long-standing "brand names" like this get identified with their referents and people usually stop parsing the individual words in the name. Consequently, the typical reader might read it wondering why a name-change matters in the first place, thinking "it's just a name, why does it matter"?

Can you think of a few better names? Perhaps that could help make the possible alternatives more concrete to your readers.

Most important, outside of the details of the article, I don't think it's a good idea to boycott them for this particular name. If it were on the lines of "Proletariat Voice" or some such nonsense, a boycott might be fine. Even there, though, with a student paper, and assuming readers would not assume your sanction of the other writers, why not simply stand in enemy territory and speak the truth loudly and provocatively?

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So if no one in this country posses the power to stop an individual advocating their views then why are the students of BMCC being called voiceless.

There should be a question mark there, at the end of that sentence.

Many of them might agree with my stance, but it is more than unlikely that all 16,999 students will have the same opinion as mine.

This is awkward and somewhat unclear. You might change it to "very unlikely" or "quite unlikely."

(I like your major premise.)

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