Voting for USF Student Government elections begins Feb. 26, and the series of debates and string of candidates’ signs lining University sidewalks speaks to the fact that campaign season is in full swing.

As an editorially independent newspaper that reaches out to the USF community, the Oracle is often a source of information on candidates and their opinions on issues that affect the student body, such as campus safety or a plus/minus grading system.

While the paper has often had an active role editorializing on issues pertaining to both SG and its elections, the editorial board has decided not to write any editorials or print any letters to the editor or columns regarding the SG elections or any opinion writing on or from particular candidates or those affiliated with their campaigns.

We feel that this decision is the only way the editorial board, and the Oracle as a whole, can avoid any appearance of bias, as it would be difficult – if not impossible – to give candidates and their supporters equal time to express their views on the opinion pages.

Some members of the USF community have expressed concern that the Oracle was being unfair, as the opinion section did not print multiple letters to the editor written by members of SG or those running for positions within SG in recent weeks.

At the Oracle, we feel that the best way to maintain journalistic integrity is by refusing to run such letters and columns, as their publication alone could display unintended favoritism.

While the Oracle will continue to editorialize on matters of SG from time to time, we will refrain from commenting on any issues regarding the elections until they have been completed.

The act of denying a letter to the editor or a proposed column does not limit the ability of a reader – regardless of his or her relationship with SG – from providing feedback on particular articles and issues covered within the pages of the Oracle. Readers are invited to share their opinions on the Oracle’s Web site, usforacle.com, by posting comments on any story they see fit.

If you’re looking for updates or analysis on the SG elections, we will still provide extensive coverage in the news pages of the newspaper – just not in the Opinion section.