April 4, 2012

Faculty delay Folio approval

In a contentious vote Monday, the faculty decided to postpone the approval of Folio as an official Knox publication until the May meeting of the faculty.

The decision came mainly upon the insistence of members of the Art Department, which wants to play an “advisory role” in the publication. Meanwhile, officers of Folio, a visual arts journal, stressed that the organization is strictly student-founded and student-run, and they would like to keep it that way.

“We were disappointed [with the decision], obviously, but we also have faith that it’ll be revisited in May, and we’ll have a better discussion about it,” Folio Creative Director senior Anne Horrell said after the meeting. “The Folio staff is very much focused on this as a student-run, student-founded organization, and while we do have a faculty advisor (Lecturer in Journalism Christie Cirone), she doesn’t have a say in what our decisions are.”

Associate Professor of Art Mark Holmes, also chair of the Art Department, spoke on behalf of the department, eventually motioning to postpone Folio’s approval vote until the May faculty meeting. That motion passed with a 39-34 vote.

“While we are impressed by the genuineness and initiative of student organizers of Folio, we have some concerns that such a publication will inevitably stand as a representation of the academic merit of the visual arts at Knox,” Holmes said, reading a statement he prepared before the meeting.

In an interview after the meeting, Holmes said he does not envision the department serving as a “gatekeeper” for Folio, but rather, the department would “have a role in shaping it over time.” His motion is designed to give some time for Folio officers to meet with the Art Department and iron out their thoughts.

“Past editions of Folio have provided evidence that its staff is not really aware of models and standards set forth by professional arts journals,” Holmes said during the meeting. “As a result, Folio is not an attractive venue for many of Knox’s most gifted art students and alumni.”

Discussion during the faculty meeting ranged from complete support of Folio and advocacy for student autonomy to harshly questioning Folio’s proposal.

“As the president of Student Senate, obviously I’m a big proponent of student autonomy,” senior Gordon Barratt said, adding that it is “troubling” that “there is a faculty committee that wants to delay the approval of a student-run, student-organized club which has a lot of support, in order to have a larger influence over that club or work closer with that club.”

Barratt added that he has advocated collaboration in the past, but there is no reason to delay Folio’s approval.

Associate Professor of Art Lynette Lombard objected to the proposal, saying that it does not include “critical criteria” on which to decide what is published in Folio.

“We want to be part of the conversation because this represents Knox. It represents the visual culture at Knox, and it’s, to me, crucial that the Art Department is included in some of the decisions that are made,” Lombard said.

Professor of Theatre Elizabeth Carlin-Metz disagreed that the proposal should include criteria, citing Cellar Door. Carlin-Metz said Cellar Door’s proposal did not include specific criteria, but it allowed for a critical review process of all work submitted.

“Student media exists as part of the educational mission,” she said. “The process by which the students will learn, if, in fact, they present a bad magazine, [the publication will be] judged in the public eye of the institution, and I think other students will determine that it’s either good or bad.”

Horrell said there are plans for a meeting between the Broadcast, Internet and Publications committee, or BIP, Horrell, next year’s Folio Creative Director sophomore Andrei Papancea and members of the Art Department to discuss what role the department could play in Folio.

Meanwhile, Quiver was approved with very little discussion and a unanimous vote.

“The more publications, the better,” Professor of English Robin Metz said.

In other faculty business, Professor of Chemistry Andrew Mehl was elected to the Faculty Personnel Committee.

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