Q: How does the Flat Hat Opinions section work? What is our publishing philosophy?

A: Recently, we have received some indirect complaints through the Facebook group “Swampy Memes for TWAMPy Teens” about the content we allow to be published in The Flat Hat’s opinions section. We welcome criticism and would like to take this opportunity to explain our publishing philosophy.

The Flat Hat is the College of William and Mary’s official student newspaper. Therefore, the opinions section is here to reflect the opinions of the student body. We are interested in publishing any student’s opinion unless it is clearly and objectively harmful, such as an incitement of violence or defamation of some kind. For the most part, we only publish opinions pieces written by people connected directly to the College, such as students, alumni and faculty.

In addition to regular opinions pieces, the opinions section publishes letters to the editor. Letters to the editor are sent specifically to the editor-in-chief of The Flat Hat and are often in response to a news or opinions article that has been published in a previous edition of the paper. Letters to the editor, by their nature, are meant to be published with very little alteration. While we have published letters to the editor from people unaffiliated with the College before, we are making an increasing effort to ensure that we only publish letters that are relevant to our community.

If an opinions submission or a letter to the editor is extremely badly written or nonsensical, we will send it back to the author and vocalize our concerns. As the student body newspaper, we do not feel entitled to select which student perspectives should be represented or silenced. Ultimately, any reality where the opinions editors choose the pieces we publish solely based on our subjective ideas of which arguments are persuasive would offer little more than censorship. We are here to provide a voice for the whole student body, not to create an echo chamber of the opinions with which we personally agree.

While we understand that it is never enjoyable to read an opinion with which you strongly disagree, especially when it seems badly written or poorly argued, it is not fair of us to arbitrarily decide whose opinions are valid. The purpose of the opinions section is to highlight the opinions of students and alumni, and due to the size of our student body and alumni network, there are bound to be some opinions sent in to our paper that not every reader appreciates.

If you disagree with us on our publishing philosophy, feel free to send in an article. We’ll publish it.

Anna Boustany and Chloe Folmar are The Flat Hat opinions editors.

Email Anna and Chloe at


If you have a question you’d like to see answered,

please email it to fhopinions@gmail.com.



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