Opinion

On the removal of the 2014-2015 editors-in-chief

On Feb. 25, The Mac Weekly’s fall and spring editors-in-chief were both removed from our staff and barred from any participation in The Mac Weekly by a disciplinary committee. They were charged with falsifying documents and failure to comply. This decision was delivered without prior warning to The Mac Weekly staff. Since this decision, The Mac Weekly has operated without an editor-in-chief.

The editor-in-chief, as the position currently stands, receives a stipend. This is the case with the advertising manager and the website editor as well. Thus, students who receive wages from the school in any other position ­— whether it be through work study, fellowship or preceptorship — are ineligible to hold The Mac Weekly’s top posts without resigning from their current work-study post. These stipulations made it impossible for the spring editor-in-chief, who was unanimously elected by our staff, to formally hold the position due to their fellowship. The spring editor-in-chief began this fellowship two years ago.

As a result, these two individuals sought a way around this problem so the person most qualified to lead the paper could do so. Past editors-in-chief have circumvented the policy by splitting the money between two people. In these cases, only one of the two position-holders was eligible under the policy’s regulations. Given this precedent and the intentions of rewarding the best person for the job, The Mac Weekly’s fall and spring editors-in-chief asked the administration to hire the fall editor-in-chief for the stipended position, with the spring editor-in-chief performing the editor-in-chief duties. The fall editor-in-chief could then write the stipend over to the spring editor-in-chief during the following semester. Prior to this instance, there was no precedent for exchanging the full stipend between two people. The fact that the money had been split between fall and spring editors-in-chief many times in the past led these two individuals to believe that this was a possible and necessary way to establish the leadership this semester.

The administration obviously disagreed. Following a conduct hearing on Friday, Feb. 20, the individuals were banned from participating in The Mac Weekly in any capacity and were placed on disciplinary probation. The conduct hearing process is confidential and college officials are not allowed to discuss their situation. However, the individuals affected are free to do so and have allowed us to discuss the terms of their punishment.

As a staff, we were shocked by the Conduct Board’s decision to ban these two individuals. We recognize and respect that the board is required to make tough decisions about student conduct. However, this decision not only affected the two students involved, but impacted the entire operation of the paper, as we have now lost the leadership and many years of experience of our editors-in-chief. It is disrespectful to the service this publication provides to remove these two individuals without prior warning. This situation clearly stemmed from a misunderstanding and a breakdown in our support structure. That being said, we look forward to working with the administration in the future to improve the policies that have brought us to where we stand today. The current payment strategies are unsustainable and antiquated. This is not a controversial statement. It’s a common sense one.

We have the responsibility to keep you updated each week, a privilege we hold in high regard. We will continue to do so despite the adversity of the situation. In the meantime, the staff will continue holding conversations with administrators, affected individuals and campus groups. Our hope is that we can engage in a productive dialogue and reach common ground on a solution to this problem. We also hope that we can reestablish our leadership structure as soon as possible so that The Mac Weekly has the guidance it needs for the rest of the semester. We promise to keep you informed throughout this process.

For the time being, we will refrain from publishing opinion pieces related to this topic from everyone except the parties directly involved. There are too many chances for misunderstanding and we do not want the spread of false information. If you have any questions, please contact us at: macweekly [at] macalester.edu

March 6, 2015

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