Column “A city divided” should not have been published

On Oct. 18 the Vanguard published an opinion column by Caelan MacTavish, titled “A city divided,” about conflict over the city of Jerusalem.

The column was riddled with factual inaccuracies and overbroad generalizations of the Jewish faith, people and history.

The column was met with an outpouring of response from members of the student body, academia and the Jewish community, expressing outrage and disappointment at the column’s publication.

Our goal in publishing opinion columns is to advance educated debate about issues that impact or are of importance to our readers. To fulfill that goal our mission is to publish thoughtful, well-researched commentary that provides a unique or interesting analysis of complex situations.

In the case of “A city divided,” we find that the column failed gravely to meet that goal or to meet the editorial standards that we at the Vanguard aim to uphold. The column neither contributes to educated debate on the subject matter nor provides any insight into the issue that it attempts to address.

Signed columns published in the Vanguard opinion section solely represent the views of the author and not the Vanguard editorial staff.

We believe strongly in upholding our columnists’ right to expressing opinions that others may find controversial. However, we also have a responsibility to our readership to provide commentary of value.

The Vanguard deeply regrets that the column was not given as much editorial attention as it deserved, and realizes in retrospect that the column simply should not have been published.

In the interest of facilitating dialogue on this issue and providing a public forum for discussion, the Vanguard welcomed columns responding to MacTavish’s column from Portland State’s Jewish Student Union and a representative from a national watchdog organization on Middle East reporting. We are also printing several of the letters that we received in response to the column.