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September 04, 1968 - Image 9

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1968-09-04

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Wednesday, September 4, 1968


rep ori
election, in contrast to current
practice only two of these students
should be undergraduates and for
these two posts only undergradu-
*ates should be permitted to vote.
The third post should be reserved
for a graduate student, for whom
only graduate students would be
eligible to vote. Initially at least,
the staggered terms for students
should be for two years, that is, a
student should not run unless he
has a "reasonable expectation" of
staying two more years. And so
long as this system prevails, re-
placements to fill unexpired terms
should be chosen at the next cam-
pus-wide election. However, should
the board itself determine from
experience that one-year terms
would be more suitable, the board
itself should have authority to re-
duce the term to one-year for stu-
dents subsequently elected, but the
board should not have authority
to change the method of selection.
As previously noted, to provide
continuity, the terms of persons in
each of the three different groups
should be staggered., Initially,
therefore, in the case of the fa-
culty members and the profession-
al journalists, one in each group
would be appointed for only one
year, another for two years, and
the third for three years. Their
successors would then be appoint-
ed for full three year terms. In the
case of students, ' one, initially
would be elected for one year, two
others for two years each.
Our final proposal regarding;


structure bears on the chairman
who now is chosen by the Presi-
dent either from existing members
of the board or from among new
appointees. As a practical matter,
on a day-to-day basis, the chair-
man serves as the board's princi-
pal contact both with the students
who work on the publications and
with the various constituencies. In
consequence, inter alia, he -tends
to be the person who implements
the broad guidelines associated
with the board's advisory function.'
For this reason, we believe he
should be selected by the board it-
self from its own membership, ra-
ther than be appointed by the
President. The term of appoint-
ment should be for one year but
be renewable for such additional
one-year periods as the board it-
self may determine. A term should
not be renewed, however, if the
individual's own term of appoint-
ment or electioni to the board it-
self has expired.
Duties and powers of the board
The proposed board should have
the same legal status and, with
respect 'to assets and budget, the
same responsibilities as the pre-
sently constituted Board in Con-.
trol of, Student Publications. Oth-
erwise, aside from the appointing
authority-described in succeeding
paragraphs, the board should act
only in an advisory capacity.
The matter of appointments to
the Daily's staff has generated
more than one controversy in re-
cent years. To some at least, it ap-a

peared that the process itself
came under attack. The difficulty
emerged in large part because the
editors of the Daily felt they were
in a better position than the board
to know which persons should suc-
ceed to the senior posts by refer-
ence to merit and ability to work
together. In consequence, where it
appeared the board would deviate
from proposals made by the edi-
tors, the latter tended both to sus-
pect that weight was being attach-
ed to considerations deemed inap-
propriate and to believe this in-
volved at least an indirect attack
on freedom of expression.
No doubt, in the first phase of
the appointing process, members
of a part-time board cannot pos-
sibly know as much about the ap-
plicants as do those who have
worked regularly with them, But,
standing alone, this proves .only-
in the language of the League of
Women Voters-that, in the
course of the appointment process,
the Daily's senior editors have pe-
culiar qualifications as resource
persons whose individual views are
entitled to substantial weight. In-
deed, theindividual views of jun-
iors and sophomores who have
worked alongside or under the ap-
plicants are relevant also on this
But there is no inherent reason
why work on the Daily's staff
should entitle a person to make
the ultimate decision regarding
those who will operate the Daily
after his own tenure has expired.
In terms of fairness alone, it is
enough if work on the Daily en-
titles the individual staff member
and his colleagues-during their
tenure there-to progress person-
ally acording to their respective
abilities and productivity as jour-
nalists, with all this implies. Again
in connection with the matter of
fairness, no single year's staff its
responsible for what the Daily is
at the moment the staff's tenure
expires and, thus, for what the
new staff takes on. Literally thou-
sands (Regents, students, admin-
istrations, faculty, board members,
etc.) have contributed, directly or
indirectly and over the years, to
the slowly evolving traditions
which together make up the Daily
at any one point in time. Those
traditions include its primacy in
facilitating on-campus communi-
cations, the opportunity of each
succeeding group of editors-col-
lectively or individually-freely to
communicate their ideas in their
own ways, the board's practice of
dipping into liquid resources gen-
erated elsewhere when the Daily
encounters a lean year, and the
Of course, the outgoing Daily
staff does have a legitimate. in-
terest in the future preservation
of the worthwhile traditions, but
so do others. Indeed, the entire

cornmaunica fiotis


on-going University family has a
greater stake.
In consequence, so long as the
Daily is within the framework of
the University, top level appoint-
ments should be made by a board
which (i) while reflecting the var-
ied interests and perspectives of all
those with an on-going stake in
the traditions that make up the
Daily, (ii) is structured in a man-
ner not likely to generate dis-
trust, (iii) conforms to procedures
best calculated to acquaint it with
all relevant facts, that is, proce-
dutes which enable it to make
effective use of those with pecu-
liar qualifications as resource per-
sons, and (iv) given the time-con-
suming nature of the requisite
fact-finding processes, appoints
only that number of staff mem-
bers within the capability of a
part-time board.
The previously proposed board
substantially satisfies the first two
of these standards. And the range
,of appointments and processes
outlined below would appear to
satisfy the second two.
Currently, the board appoints
all the senior editors, the number
ranging from eight to ten. It also
appoints at least five members of
the business staff. We do not be-
lieve a part-time board can do the
amount of fact finding required if
it truly is to exercise sound inde-
pendent judgment with respect to
so many appointees. And only to
the extent it can exercise sound
independent judgment should it
be making appointments.
These considerations prompt us
to propose that,-in the case of the
Daily, the board should appoint
only the editor, managing editor,
editorial director, and buiness
manager. The ;first three of these,
acting jointly, should then ap-
point such other senior editors,
and persons to other titled posi-
tions, as tliey deem appropriate.
And the business manager should
appoint such other persons to the
business staff as he deems appro-
With respect to the three non-
business posts, the board, after ac-
ti v e 1 y soliciting applications,
should solicit the views of the out-
going seniors, sophomores, and
those juniors who have not applied
for such a post.
To obtain the views of the soph-
omores and juniors in question,
the board should ask each of the
two groups to elect from its own
respective members three repre-
sentatives. The three representa-
tives of each group should be in-
terviewed individually by the
board to the end of obtaining
from each his personal appraisal
of the relative qualities of all ap-
plicants-viewed from the stand-
points, respectively, of an under-
ling and a co-equal.
The entire group of senior edi-

Page Nine
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tors should be requested to sub-
mit their views, individually, inI
writing. It also may be desirable1
for the board to interview the sen-
ior editors individually to the end
of obtaining from each further
personal evaluations of the respec-
tive qualities of each applicant.
Thereafter, the board should in-
terview and appraise the eligible
candidates, with the appointments
being made by reference to the
total insights thus gained.
We also believe it would be help-
ful and healthy, in the case of
the Daily, for the three outgoing
editors previously appointed by
the board to participate fully in
the discussions throughout the en-
tire process, as resource persons.
However, only members of the,
board actually would cast a vote
in selecting the new appointees.
We believe a less cumbersome
process is adequate in appointing
a new business manager. It should
be sufficient to interview the ap-
plicants, with the outgoing busi-
ness manager serving as a resource
person throughout the interviews
and discussions.
Given the great stake all the
University's on-going constituen-
cies have in the Daily, the contri-
butions their predecessors have
made to its traditions, the varied
representative perspectives of the
board's members, the wholesome-
ness of its -structure, and the

careful appointment processes
herein contemplated, there is rea-
son to hope that any who might
disagree with the appointments
will be content simply to record
that disagreement in the Daily it-
self, This, after all, is what the
Daily is all about.
While it should be clear from
the foregoing that we contemplateI
the board itself will make the
above mentioned appointments in
fact as well as theory, we further
propose that the board's name be
changed from "Board in Control
of Student Publications" to "The
Board for Student Publications."
The sole aim is to avoid the slight-
est implication that the board is
in any sense a pre-publication
censorship body. In this respect,
it should perform only an advisory
While this committee's study of'
the other student publications is
far from complete, we are prepar-
ed at this time to propose at least
one change in the manner in
which the officials of Generation,
the Ensian, and Gargoyle are se-
lected. The editor -of each should
participate, as a resource person,
in both the interviews and the
board's discussion. The business
managers of each should partici-
pate in like fashion with respect
to deliberations bearing on their

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