Executive Privilege

The Tartan will be having its annual elections on December 1, and you are welcome to run. Many college newspapers do not use a democratic election to determine its leadership, but we believe that fair elections are an important part of keeping our organization transparent and keeping your news source vibrant and trustworthy.

Generally, editorial staff members begin as writers and move up into leadership positions, but on occasion some of our most successful and influential staff members have stepped directly into editor or manager roles.

Our annual election determines who will fill the roles of executive officer, editor-in-chief, managing editor, all section editors, and the art and photo editors. Managers are appointed by the executive officer and confirmed by a majority vote of the editorial staff. Terms are one calendar year, which allows new editors to use the former editors ? often seniors ? as resources before they graduate.

Staff members who climb the Tartan ladder are well prepared by their experience. Editors spend hours every week instructing writers on journalistic skills and ethics, coaching them on their writing techniques, and teaching The Tartan?s style. Managers teach their staffs how to run a business and relate professionally to others.

New people who have not been previously involved with The Tartan can always bring new ideas to the table, however. The Tartan would not be where it is now without the people who have stepped straight into leadership roles.

If you want to learn more about joining The Tartan?s editorial staff, please feel free to contact me by e-mailing

On another note, after Hurricane Katrina and earthquakes in Pakistan and India, there was a flurry of philanthropic fundraising on campus. Students and faculty alike gave thousands of dollars to charity. But over the past month, two students have been developing a creative way to sustain our community?s support for disaster relief around the world.

Students Shabnam Aggarwal and Sean Weinstock have created the Bargain Steeler Card (BSC), which will give students great deals at restaurants and shops all over Oakland, Shadyside, and Squirrel Hill. All of the proceeds from this endeavor will support worldwide relief efforts.

In the beginning of this semester, the editorial staff of The Tartan expressed an interest in supporting some sort of philanthropy. When we learned about Sean and Shabnam?s idea, we were eager to get on board. We?re excited by the initiative?s novel and sustainable approach to charity, so The Tartan is proud to partner with the BSC group. We plan to help Shabnam and Sean with their initial expenses and to promote the card in the newspaper. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Bargain Steeler Card.

Finally, I and a number of The Tartan editors visited University President Jared Cohon last week. In our cordial visit, Cohon responded to The Tartan?s recent editorial ?Ugly and cumbersome, sure; but is it art??, expressing his genuine enthusiasm for the coming piece of public art, Borofsky?s sculpture ?Walking to the Sky.?

It seems, though, that The Tartan isn?t the only publication on campus that has published a dissent to Cohon?s opinion. FOCUS, a journal of the faculty and staff of Carnegie Mellon University, dedicated a full page of its recent issue to Martin Aurand?s intriguing feature story on the Mall and Borofsky?s work. Aurand offered an astute point that deserves reiteration: ?Art should not compromise art.? The Mall?s design is art in itself, he says, and Borofsky?s work will simply detract from that.

It seems that much of the campus community is concerned that this new artwork will compromise the integrity of the Mall. I hope that Cohon and other decision-makers will earnestly listen to and take into consideration this widely held opinion.