The California Aggie Controversies/Stone editorial

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To whom it may concern,

The editorial board of The California Aggie is writing to express its
disapproval of Editor in Chief Daniel Stone's recent actions, which undermine
and override the body’s collective voice for his selfish and egotistic purposes.

On Jan. 30, the board reached a consensus regarding the petition circulated to
call a no-confidence vote against Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef. After some debate
during the editorial board meeting, the majority of editors agreed that the
chancellor should have taken more responsible actions when reaching his
settlement agreement with ex-vice chancellor Celeste Rose. Stone disagreed with
the board, saying he felt the university as a whole should have operated more
responsibly. However, the decisions of the board are made by consensus and the
rest of the editors held the chancellor primarily responsible. This opinion was
stated clearly in the original version of the editorial.

After turning in the editorial with our collective opinion, Stone impermissibly
made changes to the file at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 30 when none of the other editors
were present. This is made evident by examining the time when the file was last
modified (a screenshot is attached to this letter) and also comparing the final
version of the editorial to the unedited versions. Furthermore, an employee
verified that Stone called at 9 p.m. requesting the layout staff to re-place the
editorial on the opinion page — a procedure that is only executed when changes
have been made to a story.

Instead of holding the chancellor responsible, Stone added the phrase
“university-wide” to direct blame at the entire university. He also added the
word “greatly” in front of “improved” in the sentence that originally read,
“Vanderhoef is a reputable official and the campus has improved under his
leadership,” amplifying the board’s original opinion.

Before discussing the editorial, Stone expressed worry about “burning bridges”
with the chancellor. He also mentioned to several editors that his father was
angry at him because he would probably not receive a letter of recommendation
from the chancellor because of The Aggie’s coverage. Our interpretation is that
Stone underhandedly made these changes out of his own self-interest, clearly
overstepping his boundaries.

When questioned about the changes, Stone feigned concern over the matter and
told Managing Editor Melissa Taddei that he had opened the editorial at 7:30
p.m. without making changes. He also told Taddei that he had concurrently opened
both the aforementioned editorial and the second editorial that ran on the same
day, but by viewing his recent documents (screenshot attached), it is evidential
that he never opened the second editorial. Furthermore, Stone asked other
editors when they left the office on that particular day of production in an
attempt to find other suspects he could pin the accusation on after Taddei had
already informed him that she and he were the last editors in the newsroom that
evening.

In conclusion, Stone knew his actions were wrong since he attempted to cover
them up with lies; his attempt to trace more suspects exemplifies his
selfishness and manipulative tactics. This misconduct marks a culmination of
concerns expressed among editors regarding Stone’s micromanagement, self-vanity
and, ultimately, his abuse of power.

The editorial board is formally requesting that Stone run the version of the
editorial on which the members of the editorial board had reached consensus and
accompany it with an apology to his staff and readers for his conduct.
Additionally, if Stone is unwilling to comply, the editorial board will approach
the Campus Media Board to seek his formal punishment with the attached evidence
and complaints.

Signed,

Melissa B. Taddei, Managing Editor
Brian Chen, Campus Editor
Vanessa Stumpf, City Editor
Stephanie Hammon, Sports Editor
Rachael R. Bogert, Arts and Entertainment Editor
Peter Hamilton, Science and Technology Editor
Matt Jojola, Photography Editor
Amy Zimmerman, Copy Chief
Jeff Katz, Features Editor

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