The Brandeis Free Press Constitution

(revised version) September 4, 1997

Table of Contents:

 

ARTICLE I - PURPOSE

Section 1. The purpose of The Brandeis Free Press (referred to below as "the organization") shall be to publish a newspaper which will
A) provide the Brandeis community with information and analysis of current events and issues (referred to below as "news") relating to the world outside of the university.
B) provide an opportunity for members of the Brandeis community to offer their insights and opinions regarding off-campus news.
C) be published on a weekly basis during the academic year, with exceptions for vacations and holidays.

Section 2. The Brandeis Free Press shall not adopt any organizational bias, and its members shall endeavor to maintain objectivity and balance in selecting, writing, and editing all articles.

ARTICLE II - NAME

Section 1. The name of the organization's publication shall be The Brandeis Free Press (referred to below as "the newspaper").

Section 2. This name shall not be changed without the approval of three-quarters of the organization's staff members as well as unanimous approval of the editorial board.

ARTICLE III - STAFF MEMBERS

Section 1. Any Brandeis student, regardless of gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, class standing, or political persuasion, is invited to become a member of the organization.

Section 2. Any organization member who has contributed, during the course of a semester, to the production of three issues of the newspaper, or has assisted in the production of five Update sections without contributing to any other facet of the newspaper, shall be considered a member of the organization's staff, with all of the rights and responsibilities thereof.

Section 3. Staff members are expected to contribute to at least three issues of the newspaper, or assist in the production of five Update sections of the newspaper, for every semester in which they remain members of the staff.

Section 4. The editor in chief, in accordance with this Article and in connection with his/her responsibilities outlined in Article V Section 1, paragraph F below, shall determine who is a staff member of the organization. The editor in chief's decision may be overruled by a majority of the staff.

Section 5. Members of the editorial board shall be considered to be staff members for all purposes.

ARTICLE IV - EDITORIAL BOARD The editorial board shall consist of staff members with the positions, titles, and responsibilities of editor in chief, managing editor, world news editor, national news editor, regional news editor, Update editor, opinion page editor, advertising editor, associate editor, and senior editor.

ARTICLE V - RESPONSIBILITIES OF EDITORS

Section 1. The editor in chief shall
A) be responsible for maintaining and improving the quality and objectivity of the newspaper.
B) approve all content and layout of the newspaper prior to publication.
C) supervise all editors.
D) select the location, in consultation with relevant editors, of all material to appear within the newspaper.
E) lay out all articles appearing on the front page of the newspaper.
F) maintain an accurate list of staff members and other members of the organization, and update the staff box weekly to include all current staff members.
G) serve as the official representative of the organization to the Brandeis community and the general community.
H) maintain an accurate record of this Constitution, as amended, and enforce all provisions contained within it.
J) preside over all organizational meetings.
K) contribute articles regularly to the newspaper.

Section 2. The managing editor shall
A) be responsible for maintaining the organization's financial health.
B) be responsible for maintaining and upgrading the organization's office and equipment.
C) maintain full and accurate financial records and compile regular budgets for the organization.
D) supervise the advertising editor.

Section 3. The world news editor shall
A) be responsible for maintaining and improving the quality of all world news coverage within the newspaper. World news shall be defined as news occurring outside of the United States or involving U.S. foreign relations.
B) select world news to be covered by the newspaper and assign world news articles to writers.
C) supervise and educate writers of world news articles.
D) edit all world news articles.
E) lay out all articles placed on the world news pages of the newspaper.
F) contribute articles regularly to the world news section of the newspaper.
G) attend staff meetings regularly.

Section 4. The national news editor shall
A) be responsible for maintaining and improving the quality of all national news coverage within the newspaper. National news shall be defined as news occurring within the United States but outside of New England.
B) select national news to be covered by the newspaper and assign national news articles to writers.
C) supervise and educate writers of national news articles.
D) edit all national news articles.
E) lay out all articles placed on the national news pages of the newspaper.
F) contribute articles regularly to the national news section of the newspaper.
G) attend staff meetings regularly.

Section 5. The regional news editor shall
A) be responsible for maintaining and improving the quality of all regional news coverage within the newspaper. Regional news shall be defined as news occurring within New England.
B) select regional news to be covered by the newspaper and assign regional news articles to writers.
C) supervise and educate writers of regional news articles.
D) edit all regional news articles.
E) lay out all articles placed on the regional news pages of the newspaper.
F) contribute articles regularly to the regional news section of the newspaper.
G) attend staff meetings regularly.

Section 6. The Update editor shall
A) be responsible for maintaining and improving the quality of the Update section of the newspaper. Update shall be a weekly feature of the newspaper providing brief summaries of the week's news.
B) select, in consultation with relevant editors, news to be covered within the Update section and assign Update articles to writers.
C) supervise and educate writers of Update articles.
D) edit and lay out all Update articles.
E) contribute articles regularly to the Update section of the newspaper.
F) attend staff meetings regularly.

Section 7. The opinion page editor shall
A) be responsible for maintaining and improving the quality of the opinion page of the newspaper.
B) solicit opinion submissions from members of the Brandeis community relating to off-campus news.
C) solicit cartoons relating to opinion submissions or reflecting the artist's own opinion on news unrelated to opinion submissions.
D) edit opinion page submissions only for grammar and length in accordance with Article X below.
E) lay out the opinion pages of the newspaper.
F) contribute submissions, as needed, to the opinion page of the newspaper.
G) attend staff meetings regularly.

Section 8. The advertising editor shall
A) be responsible for maintaining a strong level of advertising revenue for the organization.
B) solicit paid advertisements from the campus and general communities.
C) serve as the organization's liaison to advertisers and advertising agencies doing business with the organization.
D) maintain records of paid and outstanding debts from advertisers, as well as accurate advertising rates.
E) lay out all advertisements.

Section 9. The associate editor shall
A) provide advice and assistance to editors and writers.
B) assume special responsibilities and supervise special projects by approval of the staff.
C) contribute regularly to the newspaper.

Section 10. The senior editor shall
A) serve as advisor to the organization.
B) educate editors and writers to help them improve their skills as members of the organization.
C) assume special responsibilities and supervise special projects by approval of the staff.
D) contribute regularly to the newspaper.

Section 11. All members of the editorial board must remain staff members in good standing during their tenure in office.

Section 12. The staff, by majority vote and consent of the affected editors or by two-thirds vote without such consent, may temporarily assign additional responsibilities to editors, reassign responsibilities among editors, or remove responsibilities from editors. These changes shall not extend beyond the term of office of any of the affected editors, but may be renewed.

ARTICLE VI - OTHER ORGANIZATIONAL POSITIONS The staff may, by majority vote, create or abolish assistant editor positions, coordinator positions, or any other organizational position as well as the responsibilities associated with such positions. The person designated to fill such a position shall not have the rights and responsibilities associated with membership in the editorial board.

ARTICLE VII - ELECTIONS

Section 1. Excluding the editor in chief, all members of the editorial board and anyone designated to fill other organizational positions shall be elected by a majority of the staff present and voting at an announced and publicized elections meeting.

Section 2. The editor in chief shall be elected by a two-thirds majority of the staff present and voting at an announced and publicized elections meeting.

Section 3. All staff members in good standing shall be eligible to run for all editorial board or other organizational positions, excluding those of associate editor and senior editor.

Section 4. Candidates for associate editor must have served on the editorial board for one full semester or an equivalent length of time spanning two semesters.

Section 5. Candidates for senior editor must have served as editor in chief for one full semester or an equivalent length of time spanning two semesters.

Section 6. Elections for all positions must be held within the last four academic weeks of each semester. The terms of all elected officials, excluding those of associate editor and senior editor, shall end following such end-of-semester elections. The staff, by majority vote, may call for special elections to fill empty or vacated positions until the next end-of-semester elections.

Section 7. The associate editor and senior editor shall serve for as long as they choose to remain involved in the organization, provided that they fulfill their responsibilities as staff members and editors in good standing.

Section 8. An elections commissioner, appointed by a majority vote of the staff, shall inform every staff member of the time, date, and location of an elections meeting, as well as the names of all candidates running for each position, and shall be responsible for running the elections meeting fairly.

Section 9. Nothing in this Constitution shall be interpreted so as to prevent the staff from electing more than one person to one editorial board position.

ARTICLE VIII - REMOVAL FROM OFFICE

Section 1. A member of the editorial board may be removed from office for failing to discharge faithfully all of the office's duties and responsibilities as described in this Constitution.

Section 2. A motion for removal may be made by any staff member and must be discussed immediately by the editorial board.
A) The editor in question shall be informed of the reasons for the motion calling for his/her removal.
B) The staff member issuing the motion for removal and the editor in question shall each be given the opportunity to present his/her case separately to the rest of the editorial board, without the presence of individuals who are not editors.

Section 3. The editor in question shall be removed from office by a two-thirds vote of the members of the editorial board, excluding the editor in question. The editor in question shall not receive a vote. The vote shall be taken by secret ballot without the presence of the editor in question or individuals who are not members of the editorial board.

Section 4. The editorial board may decide to postpone the vote for up to one academic week.

Section 5. A removed editor has the right to remain a member of the staff, provided that he/she fulfills the responsibilities of a staff member, and may run for an editorial position after such time as his/her full editorial term would have ended without removal proceedings.

ARTICLE IX - MEETINGS

Section 1. The organization shall hold weekly meetings at announced and publicized locations, dates, and times. No member of the Brandeis community shall be denied access to organizational meetings.

Section 2. The editor in chief, in accordance with Article V, Section 1, paragraph J above, shall preside over all organizational meetings. If the editor in chief is not present, the staff shall appoint another member of the editorial board to preside over the meeting.

Section 3. With the exception of votes specifically provided for within this Constitution, all decisions shall be made by the staff present and voting, with all staff members possessing an equal vote. No staff member, with the exception provided for in Article VIII above, shall be deprived of his/her right to vote.

Section 4. A quorum shall be a majority of the members of the editorial board. A quorum shall be necessary for all votes of the organization.

ARTICLE X - OPINION SUBMISSIONS

Section 1. The opinion page of the newspaper shall serve as a means by which any member of the Brandeis community is able to express his/her opinion on matters relating to off-campus news. The organization shall respect the author's right to his/her own opinion and shall not refuse a submission on the basis of the opinion it expresses.

Section 2. The Brandeis Free Press shall have the right to refuse to print an opinion piece if the submission is deemed by the organization to contain libelous or inflammatory text, or if insufficient space exists to print all opinion submissions in their entirety. In such situations, this section shall supersede the previous section.
A) The editor in chief, in consultation with the opinion page editor, shall determine if a submission contains libelous or inflammatory text.
B) The opinion page editor, in consultation with the editor in chief, shall decide which opinion submission or submissions to withhold or edit for length if needed. Every effort shall be made by the opinion page editor to consult with the author of the submission before it is edited for length.

Section 3. All submissions must be accompanied by the name of the author and a method for contacting him/her. The newspaper will withhold the name of the author only by approval of the editor in chief, in consultation with the opinion page editor.

Section 4. It shall be made clear on the opinion page that opinions presented on the page do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the organization or its editorial board.

ARTICLE XI - ADVERTISING The Brandeis Free Press shall have the right to refuse to publish any advertisement. The decision to refuse an advertisement shall be made by the editor in chief, in consultation with the advertising editor, and may be overruled by a majority of the editorial board.

ARTICLE XII - AMENDMENTS

Section 1. Any staff member may propose an amendment to this Constitution.

Section 2. The editor in chief shall notify each staff member in writing about the proposed amendment, providing full text of the affected portion of the original document and the proposed amendment to it. In addition, the editor in chief shall provide an explanation of the effect of the proposed amendment, written in consultation with the author of the proposed amendment.

Section 3. The proposed amendment shall become part of this Constitution upon approval by two-thirds of the current editorial board and three-quarters of the current staff.

ARTICLE XIII - RATIFICATION AND SUPREMACY This Constitution shall become binding and shall supersede all other organizational documents upon approval by the entire current editorial board and three-quarters of the current staff.