TSM election committee will recommend a “roll back” on editor-in-chief qualifications

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TSM Board member Heidi Toprac listens at Thursday’s TSM election committee meeting. Toprac recommended rescinding the Board’s previous qualifications decision.
Photo Credit: Andy Nguyen | Daily Texan Staff

Three members of the Texas Student Media election committee recommended the board “roll back” a previous, unanimous decision to amend requirements for The Daily Texan editor-in-chief applicants in a meeting Thursday.

The TSM Board, which manages five student-produced media properties — Cactus Yearbook, Texas Travesty, Texas Student TV, KVRX 91.7 FM and The Daily Texan — postponed certifying candidates in a meeting last week after questions arose about the qualifications each candidate needed to meet.

“It did not occur to me that we could have a situation where we have many candidates, some of whom do and some of whom do not meet the requirements,” board member Heidi Toprac, a finance senior lecturer, said.

The Board voted to amend qualifications for the editor-in-chief position at their November meeting. Candidates are now required to have completed at least one semester as a permanent staff member in opinion to be certified, according to the TSM Handbook. Three students applied to run for editor-in-chief, only two of whom met all the requirements.

Board members Toprac, Robert Quigley and Adam Alloy expressed concern over the decision in the meeting Thursday, saying the Board may have unintentionally narrowed the applicant pool. 

The handbook states the Board may certify a candidate by waiving requirements only if no qualified candidate for editor-in-chief applies by the deadline. Toprac recommended the committee request the Board “strike out” the first clause of the requirement, which would make it possible for any candidate to be certified, regardless of whether any qualified candidates applied. 

The three candidates — David Davis, Claire Smith and David Maly — will discuss their applications with the Board at a meeting Friday. Davis said he thinks the qualifications should be upheld.

“Why have qualifications if you’re just going to waive them,” Davis said. 

Board vice president Arjun Mocherla said waiving the requirements universally might be unfair to other Texan employees, who may have wanted to apply for editor-in-chief, but did not meet the requirements. 

“If we decide that we’re going to waive say the opinion requirement or something like that, I feel like every person at The Daily Texan could have filed at that point,” Mocherla said.

Toprac said she thinks November’s decision did not reflect the intention of the board, which was to increase the number of applicants.

“We never contemplated a circumstance that has now arisen,” Toprac said. 

Candidates will not be able to begin campaigning until they are certified. The deadline for certification is Tuesday.