Forum strives for nonpartisan representation

Forum strives for nonpartisan representation

The Forum section of the Mirror has been a tumultuous branch since the paper was first published in 1908, but its purpose has always been the same: to reflect the opinions of the Augustana campus.

For this special issue based around the election, multiple editors from the Mirror attempted to find a conservative or Republican-based opinion to print alongside the liberal or Democratic opinion to uphold the Forum section’s history and purpose.

Forum is something of a middle child among the sections of the Mirror. It’s always been a widely read section, but is rarely the focus of the paper.

The section’s first title was “Editorials” and it was published in a literary book format with songs and stories.

Opinion was represented in little blurbs titled “Ideatorilly” in the ‘30s and ‘40s, and there were stories printed under the tag “Editorially speaking.” The Mirror had sections for Alumni notes and “Reflections” for guest writers to share their opinions as well.

Into the ‘50s, sections for opinion rotated to “Editorially” and a few other names, always serving as a place for campus opinion.

By 1978, the paper had officially been sectioned into recognizable quadrants, with news coming first, the labeled “Opinion” section second, something feature-related or community based, and sports on the back. This is the same sectioning and ordering that the paper still uses today.

There were some changes between then and now, including a brief period where the section was called “Reaction” and even “Perspectives,” but the title “Forum” was eventually settled on by the fall of 1993 under Editor-in-Chief Kerri Johnson.

Despite the many different names, sizes, headlines and titles, the Forum section of the paper has always served as a place for students, faculty and anyone related to campus to share their opinions with the Mirror’s readership.

For this election issue, we as editors tried to be equally representative, but we were unable to find someone willing to publish an opposing opinion. The amount of Democratic opinions in this issue’s Forum section is a reflection of the kind of students willing and eager to share their opinions.

The current editors-in-chief can verify that no opinion article has been turned away since the fall of 2021. While we reserve the right to turn down pieces based on hate speech or a hateful nature, that problem has yet to come up for this staff. The imbalance in this edition of the Mirror, in particular, was indicative of the people who came to us with opinions they wished to publish.

As editors, we still are not perfect. We know there is likely someone on campus who would have agreed to publish a Republican opinion article with their name attached, but we were unable to find that person.

Forum is a place that is meant to reflect student voices, and one that encourages them to engage with their peers. It’s meant to spark engagement, not just to inform the student body.

If any student is interested in writing for the Forum section, please contact the Forum editor Kat Elgersma at The more people interested in writing for the section, the more reflective the Mirror’s Forum will become. The future of this section and of this publication will always be shaped by and for the student body.