On Monday, April 2, the vote to approve Folio by the faculty as an official Knox publication was tabled until May. This was due, in part, to the concerns of members of the Art Department about a lack of an advisory role from the department.
An advisory role would give the department a hand in shaping the journal over time and help instruct them on general criteria for selecting pieces. While this might bring a better product in the eyes of the Art Department, it will hinder the true artistic work of all students, faculty, staff and alumni. Delaying approval until May will also increase the difficulty of folio getting proper funding and they could possibly be forced to rely partially on alumni donations again in the coming year.
Since the Art Department was given a chance to be a part of the journal, but turned it down, we must ask, what right do they have to ask for inclusion now? If they cared for this independent student endeavor they would have gotten in at the ground floor, but now since the publication has begun to succeed they wish to be given greater control.
If the department wishes to improve the content of the journal they should be more supportive of art students’ submissions to the journal and allow the staff to solicit work in their classes. In addition the creation of this publication does not prevent the department from creating their own journal that represents work of the department itself.
The journal does not stand as a “representation of the academic merit of the visual arts at Knox,” as Chair of the Art Department Mark Holmes stated in April’s faculty meeting, it stands as an exhibition of the creativity of everyone at Knox. Student publications should represent students regardless of their major. Certainly the fact that the publication is also online does give it more visibility to outside parties — thereby making it more vulnerable to scrutiny, but the school should see this as a benefit, showing that artistic endeavors flourish throughout the Knox community.
Knox College thrives from the depth of creativity and knowledge of all its members. A student who may have last taken a step in the Ford Center for the Fine Arts as an incoming freshman should not be deterred from submitting to a visual arts journal. With the oversight that the Art Department has proposed, many students might be afraid to submit to what would become an Art Department publication.
If the Journalism Department had direct oversight of The Knox Student, the staff would likely be limited due to the small number of journalism minors currently on staff. The vast knowledge that comes from our writers, photographers and editors who are not going into journalism has helped us become one of the best newspapers in the state in the Illinois College Press Association.
The oversight that Cellar Door, The Knox Student, Catch, WVKC and, most recently, Quiver receives through the Broadcast, Internet and Publication Board provides the best balance between allowing students to be independent while holding these organizations to high standards of accountability. The addition of Folio to the list would be the best result for the publication and the Art Department.
We urge the Folio staff to hold their ground and the faculty to understand and respect the great benefits student publications receive from being independent. As a publication that is student-run and student-read, The Knox Student flourishes and Folio will undoubtedly do the same if it keeps its independence.