UCLA's Communications Board will meet tonight to select an editor-in-chief of the Daily Bruin, the 20,000-circulation student-run newspaper that has been convulsed by internal strife for most of the past year.
Three people who have worked for the newspaper have applied for the $500-a-month position: Nick Bucci, former features editor; William Rabkin, former editor-in-chief of the University of Washington newspaper, and Lynne Weil, editor of Blue Moon, the university's feature magazine.
The new editor will replace Katherine Bleifer, a 22-year-old junior history major who resigned under fire Dec. 14 after 14 of the 15 members of her editorial board threatened to resign if she continued as editor.
Although no longer working for the Bruin, Bleifer caused some anxiety among staff members last week by announcing her intention to get her job back and to replace the editors who forced her out.
She changed her mind at the last minute and did not submit an application by last Friday's deadline. Bleifer, however, has not closed the door entirely.
"I talked to friends who suggested that I delay my application until next spring, when the editor-in-chief is selected for the next academic year starting in July," Bleifer said.
Asked why she would reapply for a job she quit, Bleifer said, "I have worked for the Bruin for nearly four years, putting in a lot of blood and sweat, and I have not completed the job that needs to be done."
Frequently at Odds
The Communications Board, composed of students, faculty and administrative representatives of the university, is the newspaper's publisher and has frequently been at odds with the Bruin staff in selecting editors-in-chief.
In three of the last four years, the board has selected editors, including Bleifer, whom the Bruin staff had not endorsed. The board stood by Bleifer's appointment last spring when several staff members sought reconsideration of the selection.
Bleifer's break with the new staff occurred in November when she wrote and made public a letter castigating two of her sub-editors for not running a story on a demonstration conducted against the Daily Bruin by the Black Student Alliance. The student group maintained that the Bruin staff either ignored minority group stories or reported them inaccurately.
Shortly after that, the editors demanded that she either resign or be replaced by the Communications Board. Before the board could act, Bleifer quit and was replaced, on an interim basis, by managing editor Jerry Abeles.
Sources connected to the Bruin attributed many of the internal disagreements that developed in the fall quarter to the absence of an adviser. The position had been vacant since July, when Mary Ann Wymore resigned to attend law school. UCLA has no journalism department.
Stephen Grossman, a Los Angeles Valley College journalism professor, was hired early this month to replace Wymore. He said he has been working 10-hour days since then to "depoliticize" the Daily Bruin staff.
Grossman, 42, a novelist and magazine writer, said that his primary goal is to get the staff to cover the news rather than "making news."
"My feeling is that the true function of a newspaper is to cover the news, not be in the news," Grossman said. "My function is to reverse what has been happening here for a long time. The students seem to agree with me.
"While I have been here for three weeks, I feel like I have been here for six months."