North Wind Faculty Adviser Fired, Top Editor-in-Chief Candidate Rejected at Northern Michigan
The Board of Directors of The North Wind, the student newspaper at Northern Michigan University, has voted to not rehire faculty adviser Cheryl Reed for the next school year. In addition, the board has rejected current managing editor Michael Williams’ candidacy to be the next editor-in-chief. He is the only student who applied for the paper’s top spot. But his EIC dreams were dashed in a 5-4 vote after a “lengthy executive [read: secret] session.”
According to an initial report posted on the North Wind site, “Current editor-in-chief Emma Finkbeiner was not allowed in the interview of Michael Williams or in the discussion of his candidacy following due to the ruling of an ‘executive session.’ Finkbeiner is not considered a part of the board due to her non-voting status. The discussion of the rehiring of Reed was not listed on the agenda.” Yowza.
The board’s chair Aubrey Kall disputes the agenda listing portion of the North Wind piece. She writes in a public statement shared on Facebook that the listing was included in the agenda placed online two days before the meeting. But it’s unclear if the general category “2015-16 Appointments” was understood by Reed and others to mean a vote on her future employment.
Bottom line, not involving the current editor-in-chief in the selection of her replacement? Making a decision about a faculty adviser without the say of current student staff? And not elevating the paper’s current second-in-command, the only candidate for the gig, to the top spot? On spec, it doesn’t sound good, folks.
One more question: Might these decisions and machinations have something to do with North Wind’s, ahem, aggressive journalism? As I previously posted, the paper has upped its journalistic A-game in recent months. Instead of crafting “cupcake stories,” the pub has been digging, exploring, asking tough questions and filing FOIA requests — at times rubbing NMUers the wrong way.
Kall’s comeback to that charge: “In my role as chair of the board, I know I will be asked if the president, administration or faculty had anything to do with pressuring the students [on the board] into this vote. I can unequivocally state that no pressure was applied on or request made to the students of the board to vote for or against any North Wind staff members for next year. Each was encouraged to decide for themselves.”
In a current student-on-the-street feature, the North Wind asks individuals to suggest something they would change about NMU. Would the paper’s suggestion now be its own board of directors?