To whom it should concern

By Andrew Sheeler

I often joke that I could write an editorial lauding the merits of setting fire to a bag full of kittens and not receive one letter in response, but writing something critical of the ASUAF student government will guarantee a host of letters.

I’ve written editorials this year on a fair number of hot-button topics, ranging from Fred Phelps’ right to protest at soldiers funerals to the right of Muslims to build a community center six blocks from Ground Zero to (again) ASUAF student government. These columns were intended to spur honest discussion and raise awareness of issues I consider important to everyone.

In the past, I’ve received letters that question my ability to run the paper, make thinly veiled threats to my funding, and (most recent) suggest that editorial control of the Sun Star would be better suited to my 2-year-old daughter. I just have one thing to say to these people who write these kinds of letters to me: thank you.

I mean that. Thank you. Thank you for being involved in the UAF community. Thank you for reading the Sun Star and coming away from it with a strong impression, positive or negative. Thank you for giving enough of a damn about whatever it was that motivated you to write me a letter. We may disagree about policy or positions, but I respect your willingness to pen a response and put your name next to it.

Student apathy is a reality at UAF. It has been for years, if not always. Every year there is a depressingly low turnout for ASUAF elections. Every year the editor of the Sun Star writes at least one column decrying student inaction and urging greater involvement. The men and women who take the time to compose a letter and send it in demonstrate the most admirable quality in a student: involvement. They care and in that caring they become powerful.

What about the rest of you? If you read this paper, I refuse to believe you come away from it with no impression. The Sun Star’s reporters and photographers work hard each week to bring you what they, and I, believe to be the most important things worth knowing. Surely something they, or I, write must be meaningful to you. So write me about it! If an article got something wrong, or right, let us know. And if there’s nothing in our paper that grabs your interest, I want to know about that too. This is your paper, so let me know what you want to see in it. More sports? Less sports? Less bias? More bias?

Reviews? Comics? What is it you want to see?

Think writing a letter doesn’t make a difference? It was a letter written to the Sun Star that brought attention to the Arctic Region Supercomputing Center’s current dire straits. It was several passionate letters to the editor, in combination with protest and student testimony that helped convince the Board of Regents not to institute a 5 percent tuition hike. Your voice makes a difference, so be heard.

Take some ownership in the Sun Star and write me a letter. Or the bag of kittens gets it.

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