The Hatchet, as I like to tell my colleagues, is a democracy only one day a year. That day is Saturday, when staffers will convene to elect the editor in chief who will serve from May 2006 to May 2007.
The Hatchet is unique among college newspapers in having an election — most campus publications, including independent ones, have a board of directors select a head editor. Our board of directors trusts students to make the right decision as to who should be editor in chief. In my experience, voters have been thoughtful and comprehensive in making their decisions. They weigh candidates’ personalities, accomplishments and goals, among other things.
To run for editor in chief, a student must have been an editor, production manager or assistant production manager for at least one full semester in addition to the semester in which they are running for EIC. Only editors, the production manager(s) and assistant production manager(s) paid a stipend are eligible to cast votes, provided their names have appeared in the staff box since the first issue of the semester in which the election takes place.
The election process as I have formulated it is very structured: each candidate meets with voters to go over his or her platform and answer questions. After each candidate makes a presentation, deliberation among voters and then a vote takes place. Candidates are allowed to vote but cannot take part in the deliberation. If there are more than two candidates and no one garners a majority of votes, there’s a runoff between the top two vote getters. This year’s contest features an unprecedented five candidates; usually there are only two. Sometimes, one person runs and wins by default.
I have been very impressed with staffers’ commitment to putting out a quality product at a time when they are also expending a lot of thought on EIC candidates. As soon as our conclave determines a winner Saturday night, I will post the winner’s name and short bio on this blog.
I’d like to know what readers think of our election process. Have a good Thursday and Friday.