Section: Editorial

The exceptional, but necessary case for an anonymously written op-ed

This week, we made the rare decision to publish an anonymous op-ed in the Collegian. The author of the op-ed is a trans student, and after discussions with her, we granted her anonymity to avoid identifying her as trans to loved ones and friends back home.

The phrase “anonymous op-ed” likely recalls the New York Times’ high-profile publication of an op-ed by a writer identified only as “a senior official in the Trump administration” on Sept. 5. But before that piece, the Times had published other op-eds by anonymous authors. On June 18, 2009, one Iranian writer appeared as “Shane M.” for his personal safety. And in June the Times granted anonymity to another op-ed writer, a mother who had immigrated to the U.S. from El Salvador, to shield her from “threats she and her family face.” Although uncommon, protecting op-ed writers through anonymity is not unheard of.

Like anonymous sources for a news article, an anonymous op-ed can help us include the voices of those who would otherwise face threats to their safety. We hope you find, as we did, that the clarity, focus and timeliness of this week’s op-ed warrants its publication even if the writer cannot safely put her name in its byline.

The staff editorial is written weekly by editors-in-chief Cameron Messinides ’19 and Devon Musgrave-Johnson ’19, managing editor Grant Miner ’19 and executive director Matt Mandel ’19. You can contact them at messinidesc@kenyon.edu, musgravejohnsond@kenyon.edu, minerg@kenyon.edu and mandelm@kenyon.edu, respectively.

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