I have worked with the Eagle team for over a year, finding them to be a group of people with whom I share a sense of responsibility to "think globally, act locally", to improve the world however we can. Editorship was never an aspiration: I slipped into this job because it needed to be done.
As Eagle Editor, I don't comfortably wear the mask of the imperial "we" I find that my thoughts here reflect an earnest "I", but not a journalist by trade, training or much inclination. I am simply an artist who is striving to find and express truth through communication with other people.
Words I love, and could circumnavigate the globe at least once on a path of the books in my life. But the writing of words is another matter. Writers have their own kind of eccentric dedication and madness, which I do not share.
Yet now here I find myself, pen in hand, writing an explanation of this issue of the Eagle, whose concept and form I have helped to birth.
That image of birthing is more accurate than not. It has been a lengthly, difficult, sometimes anguished process. The act of creation has certainly been participatory, but the final results, typos, unusual journalistic stylings, et al. are my responsibility. Not always a happy thought.
The concept of this issue was formed in response to one of the first replies to our survey. Connie Windle wrote, "We students want to read information, not childish retaliation." (see Page 5 for full text of Connie's comments and response by advisor Collins)
I agree with you, Connie, about our responsibility to provide information.
The purpose of the Eagle is to serve the entire college community, and our staff has consistently tried to provide relevant information over the past year. There is certainly room for disagreement about what is relevant, so we also provide a forum for all opinions. And, we're specifically interested in creating a feedback loop with you, our readers.
Hence the little yellow opinion survey sheets that have been floating around campus for the last few weeks - and the suggestion boxes on the Eagle newstands in the Ad Building lobby, and the Eagles Nest. Please use them for any comments you would like to make to the Eagle.
There had been plans for another Extra Edition of the Eagle to come out this spring, but with the Board's investigation taking place over the summer, there will be no results to comment on until the fall. So we have shifted the planned Extra to a follow-up edition next semester.
Campus information a focus
This issue is about campus information, with a focus on student issues that could be useful to some people, maybe not to all. We address the questions about controversial issues raised by Dean Bell's letter to the Board of Trustees last September, and commented on by long-time faculty member, Larry MacLeitch. This is our response to another student's request from the survey, and possibly the questions are very relevant, to EOPS students in particular. (see page 6)
Eagle furthers mission
In response to our first requests for feedback, which we delivered to the Board of Directors and Carl Ehmann in March, Trustee Koeninger sent us a thoughtful, careful view of what the Board is having to deal with right now. He was very encouraging of the Eagle's efforts in the dialogue and expressed understanding of our role "in furthering the mission of the college." (see Letters to the Editor, page 4).
Meanwhile, some members of the faculty have evidently been concerned about the procedures used in hiring the new Athletic Director. The Senate passed a resolution (see Senate resolution S97.09 on page 21) asking the Trustees Subcommittee to include the Athletic Director hiring in its investigation of mismanagement.
In our effort to keep the campus and the community abreast of developments, we have included several lively letters from college faculty that were circulated in the last few weeks (see pages 8 - 11) and an update of CCMC events (page 9)
The Eagle received some new material on shared governance, a subject which effects everyone at the College. A portion of the Trustees Handbook stresses the importance of shared governance and a glimpse of how it is supposed to be put into practice. (page 21) We have also included two articles forwarded to us by ASMC President Jodiah Nelson on the subject of AB1725, shared governance, and the Student Senate for California Community Colleges.(see pages 22-23) Thanks, Jodiah.
The part-time faculty association (the MPFA) has invited Alan Frey, a consultant from the California Teachers Association, to speak on the subject of how the college budget works. Frey says that quite often faculty are shocked at what they discover from his talks. (see page 14).
I've heard comments that this issue is dense.
Yeeees, it's true.
So be it.....(Readers of the World, Unite!)
Some pictures we had anticipated did not arrive. This edition is already over two weeks behind my personal schedule, and I feel like the White Rabbit. "I'm late, I'm late for a very important date..." In spite of the daytime hours put in on this Eagle, most of my nights these past weeks have been spent working on it until four or five in the morning. Doing this has taken everything all of us have to give.
I had to move the office into town for the duration because the new security requirements in our campus office made it impossible to finish it there. And advisor King Collins has been right there thru these crazy hours, with advisor Dale Glaser on the speaker phone, while we thrash something out at 2:00 a.m. - all for the princely sum of the hundred dollars a month that we each are paid.
(Hmmmm, guess they're not in it for the money, Martha. Wonder what they're up to. Do you suppose they (gasp!) Believe in what they're doing? Ohm'god, we have commitment loose on the campus. Get out the shotgun uh,er, checkbook and let's buy us some compiliance quick.)
Why such interest now in the Eagle?
The Eagle has become the subject of keen interest by the English Department, represented by Nancy McLelland and Susan Keegan. Even former editor Zack Darling has heard this rumor and checks back in with us, sharing strong and informed opinions about it (see page 5).
McLelland has let it be known that she does not like the content or the form of the Eagle, and that the Eagle should be under the "tutelage" of the English Department. Rumor also has it that she would be willing to take on the journalistic work of the Eagle for 40% of her full-time salary, worth about $20,000. Eagle advisor Collins, met with her, and invited her and her students to write or edit articles and to join in other aspects of producing the Eagle. She declined, saying that she did not support the "ideology" of the Eagle. When pressed for an example of that ideology, McLelland said that the staff of the Eagle believes there is an "inner circle" at the college and that she did not believe there was any such thing. Ms. McLelland, do you really think everyone is privy to all the decisions made by all the college bureacracy?
A disingenuous view from someone who works in the heart of the beast. An inner circle is not an illusion: it is a fact, and only negative if there is an abuse of power. It's in the nature of human organizations to have differentiations of function and responsibility. They can't operate any other way. Therefore, we have "inner circles" of administrators, directors, committee heads and other such folk.
In truth, objections to the Eagle's recent endeavors are more likely to be based on the ad-
ministration's idea(ology?) that it is not proper for the Eagle to be making observations on the state of the emperor's clothes. So by all means, bring this errant group under the control of someone who will excersise the rule of "appropriate" censorship.
It is interesting that our advisors and staff are not being consulted about this proposed disposition (disposession?) of the Eagle. In the corporate world, this is referred to as a bid for a hostile takeover. Hardly a gesture of good faith. Does this mean that our hardworking advisors are being disgarded? Are their contracts not going to be renewed? Are we hearing an echo?
If so, perhaps we should be flattered that it is worth $20,000 a year to muzzle us guess that means we've been doing a good job, inspiring people to think. F.B. Sanborn says,
"The careful reader of a few good newspapers can learn more in a year than most scholars do in their great libraries."
Marya Legrand, Editor
Afterthought: If McLelland and company prevail, I may have the shortest editorial career in the history of the Eagle.
Copyright Mendocino College Eagle 1997
Permission granted to excerpt or use this article if source is cited.