Friday, January 21, 2022

ASMSU rejects proposal for editorial control of yearbook

April 24, 2001

Although another endeavor to get editorial control of the Red Cedar Log yearbook failed Thursday, Bryan Newland was not discouraged.

Instead, the North American Indian Student Organization representative said he is pleased with the extensive discussion on the issue.

Newland and Black Student Alliance representative Crystal Price introduced a bill that would have granted editorial power of the Red Cedar Log to the ASMSU Student Assembly. The assembly did not approve the measure.

“I was disappointed, but at the same time I knew it wouldn’t pass,” Newland said.

Newland said as long as the yearbook is supported by the student government, its content should be under ASMSU’s control.

“I was more or less trying to make a point: A student government has no business running a yearbook,” he said. “We have to encourage the Red Cedar Log to become independent because a publication like that should be independent.”

After first questioning the yearbook’s diversity in December, Newland and Price introduced a string of bills seeking editorial power of the publication.

What resulted is numerous hours of debate among the assembly and the establishment of a diversity managing editor on the yearbook staff.

“It shows we are taking significant steps toward diversity,” Newland said. “And I think the Red Cedar Log got the message.”

While Red Cedar Log staff members were happy with the result, they said the struggle for editorial control to ensure diversity in the publication could have been avoided.

“I definitely think the book is more diverse because of it,” said Katie Harper, Red Cedar Log business manager. “But, that could have been settled in other ways.

“I think the book would have been just as diverse if this didn’t happen.”

In efforts to include more diversity in the publication, a section was added in the 2001 Red Cedar Log that includes the Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations at MSU and NAISO’s annual Pow-Wow of Love.

Rianne Jones, Red Cedar Log editor-in-chief, said other benefits resulted from the editorial-control situation, including the creation of a diversity managing editor position.

“We have proved that we are listening to the assembly,” Jones said. “Student Assembly representatives now know they can speak with us directly if they have any concerns.”

Jones said the bill’s failure is a significant step toward a better publication.

“I don’t think the staff will have this issue to deal with, so they will put out an even better yearbook next year.”

The yearbook staff also hopes to eventually become independent from the student government.

And Newland said attempts to get editorial power of the Red Cedar Log are over for the time being.

“We’re going to take a look at the 2001 yearbook and see where it goes from there,” he said.

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