On Feb. 13, all Concordia students received an email reminding them of the application deadline for four positions: three pertaining to the Concordian and one for the editor-in-chief of AfterWork. The Student Affairs Committee closed the applications the next day, held interviews with the candidates between February 20-23, and sent out their decisions within a day.
My close friend and colleague Elaine Laliberte was denied the editor position of AfterWork because “there were more applicants with more literary experience with the publication,” according to an email she received from Sue Ellingson on behalf of the Student Affairs Committee. “We encourage you to move to the literary side of the AfterWork staff in the coming year and to take at least one creative writing seminar beyond English 227 next year. Please reapply if you are still interested next year.”
If you flip through last year’s version of AfterWork, it probably won’t be the excellent poetry, nonfiction, or fiction stories that first catch your eye. I’m willing to bet that you stop and first eye up the cover. It features an incredible colored pencil drawing of a dog perched on a sailboat done by Ruth Peterson. I’m guessing you will pause at Sage Larson’s colorful photography—both “Altea” and “Villajoyosa.” I hope, as others who work on AfterWork, that you would take time to read “Smirnoff and Rohypnol” by Ellen Rethwisch. I wish that you would take the time to ponder the narrative in Logan Jorgenson’s sobering story “A Death in the Family.”
When you happen upon a copy of AfterWork, as it sits in the Tabernacle, you probably don’t realize the many hours put into sifting through dozens of submissions to make what is a completely student run art and literary publication.
For starters, there are two teams of editors—one art and the other literary—that work on their respective areas of expertise to make the pieces presentable. Next, those pieces get passed on to the graphic designers who format the pieces into booklet form before they are sent to the publisher. Through all of this, one person organizes the small task-oriented teams that make up AfterWork: the editor.
The editor interviews and selects both teams of editors as well as the graphic designers. It would seem to make sense that the editor should have art, literary, and graphic design experience with the publication, since it is their job to coordinate all of AfterWork’s moving pieces.
This year, Elaine and I are the graphic designers for AfterWork. She is a journalism and art double major with a minor in business. Elaine was an art editor for AfterWork last year, so as a sophomore she already has two years of work with two parts of the publication. I would argue that she is even more qualified than Ali Froslie, this year’s editor-in-chief, who freely admits that she has no background at all in art.
I have no problem with the way Ali has run AfterWork. In fact, she is doing an excellent job of making sure that things run smoothly. This edition of AfterWork, created under her direction, is going to be yet another great edition to the long line of AfterWork publications throughout the years. In the same way, I have no doubt that whomever organizes and leads AfterWork next year will be just as successful.
My hope is that in the coming years, the Student Affairs Committee re-evaluates their criteria for choosing the editor-in-chief by acknowledging the importance of the art in AfterWork. By not suggesting that Ali need some art background, it seems that the art in the publication is put on the backburner by those hiring the lead staff for AfterWork.
Elaine has sufficient background in both literature and art, so there is no reason that she shouldn’t be given the position on the grounds that she hasn’t taken a specific creative writing class. Elaine was told in the email sent by the Students Affairs Committee that she “interviewed well. [She was] poised, articulate, and clearly communicated [her] enthusiasm for the AfterWork publication.”
With all these qualifications, shouldn’t she given a better reason to be denied the position?