New editor in chief hired, adviser still questionable

Anthony Viola

Ray Bressette is The North Wind’s new editor in chief starting this summer. He was voted in 5-2-1 by The North Wind Board of Directors Friday, April 17. Pearl Gaidelis, a student representative, was absent and Steve Neiheisel, vice president for enrollment and student services, abstained.

Bressette takes over for Emma Finkbeiner who served as editor in chief for one semester. She is leaving the post to concentrate on her appointment as editor in chief for the Public Relations Student Society of America publications. She was elected and will serve as a board member starting Fall 2015.

Bressette will become the fourth editor in the last four semesters. He will also be the third sports editor raised to the position in the same amount of time.

“It is a true honor to be elected editor in chief,” Bressette said. “The past two years that I have worked for this paper have been some of the best years of my life, and I have a lot of great ideas for the future of this paper. We have a great staff lined up for next year, and I’m excited to lead this paper into a new era.”

Bressette has already discussed moving desks around in the office.

The appointment comes in the midst of controversy. During the April 3 board meeting, Managing Editor Michael Williams was denied the position. He was the sole applicant at the time. During the same meeting, the paper’s adviser, Cheryl Reed, was ousted for the next school year. Many people saw the board’s decision to deny Williams and not reinstate Reed as retaliation for the direction the paper has taken in the last year.

The actions of the board caused Williams and Reed to file a federal First and Fourteenth Amendment lawsuit against the five board members who voted against them. The case states Reed was removed because she did not cooperate with fellow board members and stood up for her student’s First Amendment rights.

“This case is not about money,” Williams said. “We aren’t seeking any [financial] compensation. This is all about principles and rights that have been violated throughout the course of this academic year.”

Reed agreed: “We didn’t want it to get to this point. All year long we have tried to educate the board and the administration about student journalists’ rights under the First Amendment. Filing the suit was a matter of last resort to protect freedom of the press on this campus. We decided since the board and the administration have refused to listen, it was time to let a judge decide.”

The adviser next year is still up for debate. The English Department Executive Committee reiterated their recommendation for Reed, however, Dean Michael Broadway, who has the final say, rejected the English department’s recommendation.

“Thank you for your letter on behalf of the EDEC asking me to ‘forward Cheryl Reed as the department’s choice’ for the North Wind adviser position,” Broadway said in an email to Rob Whalen, EDEC’s chair, “and after due consideration I will not be doing so.”

On April 20 the board discussed the proposed candidate, Professor Jim McCommons, but did not make a decision. The board also voted to tentatively keep Reed as adviser for the summer issue.