The role of student publications at Eastern Mennonite University is to provide information to students, faculty, staff, and subscribers; a forum for student opinion and responsible discussion; a training opportunity for prospective journalists; and a reasonably accurate historical record of the institution in a particular year.
All students are eligible to serve on the staff of the Weather Vane and Phoenix; however, the editor of the Weather Vane is nominated by the Visual and Communication Arts Department and appointed by the academic dean. Staff for the Phoenix are identified by the Language and Literature Department. Eligible staff members may receive journalism credit or financial remuneration. Each staff includes a faculty person who serves in a consultative role, but students direct all aspects of the production and business operations. Student editors accept their tasks with freedom and responsibility, keeping in mind the standards of journalism: accuracy, excellence, newsworthiness, and taste. In an agreement of mutual trust the editors expect the publisher to refrain from censorship and interference; the publisher expects the editors to produce an accurate and tasteful publication.
The publications are part of the properties of the EMU Board of Trustees. The university administration acts as publisher of the papers for the Board of Trustees and may dismiss an editor who is not working within established policies.
Some student publications are funded by an allocation from the general student activities fee, the amount approved annually by the Student Government Association, and by the revenue from advertisements and subscriptions. Publications are distributed without additional cost to current full time students.