Editorial: Quest Changes Election Process

Editors To Be Elected Individually Instead of Running as a Board

On Tuesday, November 6, Senate voted to pass proposed changes to the Quest bylaws, which now require students to run individually for editorial positions on the Quest Editorial Board. These changes were developed over the last few months in collaboration with Senator Pax Lloyd-Burchett, liaison to the Quest, and the rest of Senate. They are our most recent step in our ongoing commitment to making the Quest more accessible the Reed community.

The changes to the bylaws specify that individual candidates for the Editorial Board must now run for five editorial positions. Individual candidates for editor will go through the same process as other individually-elected positions such as Senate, and will need to obtain fifty signatures to run and attend Elections Assembly. The student body will then vote for candidates using a ranked-voting process, and elected positions will still last from spring semester to fall semester of the next academic year. These elected editors will then recommend a sixth layout editor, on the basis of proficiency with layout software, to be appointed by Appointments Committee. After taking office, the five elected editors will then delegate the responsibilities of content and copy editing.

As a result of these changes, every member of our current board who wishes to continue next semester will run individually in the upcoming election. The intent of this shift away from running as a single entity is to make the board less insular and hereditary than it has been in the past.

The Quest has, historically, been predominantly white, and this was one of the main critiques the Quest faced in the elections in Fall 2017. Starting in Spring 2018, the new Quest Editorial Board has committed to ongoing structural and policy changes in the name of increased transparency and accessibility, including diversity training, a partnership with the DoJo’s tutoring services that has tutors recommend new writers for the Quest, the codification of both expectations for writers and editorial procedures, and the changes to the elections discussed here. We recognize that these steps are nothing more than steps in a larger, ongoing process. These revisions to the bylaws are not the end of that process.

We want the Quest, as the college’s longest-running publication, to be the best it can be for the Reed community. Our changes more readily enable students without prior journalistic experience to get involved with the Quest. The Quest enjoys student autonomy in a way that many college publications do not, and we want all students regardless of background to participate in the quest after which the newspaper is named.

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