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.
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