In recent weeks, the Daily Nexus news team has reported on allegations against Internal Vice President Bee Schaefer for alleged abdication of responsibilities — including not presiding over the fulfilling of necessary appointments and not facilitating necessary distribution of funding and honoraria — and subsequent violation of Associated Students Legal Code.
As the Internal Vice President, Schaefer is one of five people in executive positions within Associated Students (A.S.) and is required to fulfill the responsibilities of a representative in charge of chairing the A.S. Senate.
During the Oct. 19 Senate meeting, Schaefer announced that she will be striking and not conducting Senate meetings indefinitely until she receives justice, citing anti-Black and malicious harassment.
“I am forced into a position and situations where people come up against me to make recommendations to have their opinions heard,” Schaefer said in an email statement to A.S. and other on-campus entities. “Although they are important, they do this with anti-Blackness undertones, with malicious intent and interest, and why I define it as such is because knowingly people continue to do so with harm.”
During her strike and in her subsequent Oct. 19 email, Schaefer made several inaccurate claims about the Daily Nexus which we wish to clarify and correct through this editorial.
Prior to addressing the false allegations, the Daily Nexus Editorial Board would like to address the harassment that Schaefer has faced in recent weeks. We do not condone any harassment — anti-Black or otherwise — against Schaefer. No student at UC Santa Barbara should ever feel unsafe or unwelcome, especially due to harassment, threats or racist language and behavior on our campus. We condemn any effort or attempt to endanger Schaefer’s physical and mental health and will report any individual who uses our platform to partake in such despicable behavior — including website and social media commenters, writers and editors — to the appropriate entities.
In both the strike and in her email, Schaefer claimed that the Daily Nexus is an A.S. entity. Within the email, Schaefer described the Nexus as a Board, Commission, and Unit (BCU) under A.S. and said our reporters made severe and false allegations.
“On September 28th, 2022, The Nexus (an A.S. BCU entity) published and put forth a barrage of articles, without evidence, which made severe allegations against my character and leadership,” the email stated.
The Daily Nexus is not a BCU, nor is it funded by A.S. The Daily Nexus is funded by student lock-in fees, which are voted on and paid for by UCSB students directly. We pride ourselves on being an independent newspaper for that very reason; no organization can pose bias or influence, financial or otherwise, on our reporting. We report for UCSB students and the Isla Vista community, and we are funded by UCSB students and members of the Isla Vista community.
The Daily Nexus made no allegations against Schaefer’s character and leadership; we reported allegations made against her and in no way posited an opinion regarding her personal characteristics. Every relevant IVP responsibility and how it was handled by Schaefer was directly verified by Holly Mayes, A.S. assistant director of governmental services. As per journalistic ethical practices, the Nexus reached out to both Schaefer and Senators who expressed discontent over Schaefer’s alleged abdication of responsibilities to provide the opportunity to share their side of the story.
Schaefer references the Nexus again later in the email asserting that the entirety of her statement was not used.
“Further, the series of articles omitted my complete answers, therefore, creating a narrative that is not comprehensive nor correct,” Schaefer said.
Journalists do not publish entire statements or interviews within articles because doing so would contradict the purpose of journalism: accurately condensing information for the reader to inform themselves of current events in a digestible format. The Daily Nexus news team, copy editors and editor-in-chief have fact-checked this piece prior to publication and again following Schaefer’s allegations. The Editorial Board remains confident that our usage of quotes and our reporting are accurate and balanced.
The next reference to the Nexus in the email states the following.
“Holly Rusch and Sindhu Ananthavel. ‘Associated Students Internal Vice President fails to call the Senate to session since June causes backup in appointments, payment’, The Daily Nexus, September 28, 2022
- Perpetuation of FALSE allegations,” the email stated.
Throughout the article, all reported allegations — which were originally put forward by fourth-year English major and A.S. Living History Project chair Ted Giardello — have been verified by Mayes and the most recent rendition of A.S. Legal Code. As stated above, both A.S. Senators — some who wished to remain anonymous in fear of retaliation in A.S. spaces — and Schaefer were given the opportunity to comment on the allegations put forward by Giardello.
Schaefer references another article by the Nexus in the following paragraphs.
“Holly Rusch and Sindhu Ananthavel ‘Allegations of Internal Vice President negligence discussed at first fall quarter A.S Senate meeting’, The Daily Nexus, September 28th, 2022
- FALSE defamatory,” the email stated.
Once again, this article was fact-checked prior to publication and following Schaefer’s allegations by the Daily Nexus news team, copy editors and editor-in-chief. Additionally, all allegations were verified again by Mayes and A.S. Senators. The article Schaefer references runs down the Sept. 28 A.S. Senate meeting and the perspectives that the public, members of A.S. and Schaefer expressed during and after the meeting. The Facebook livestream of the Sept. 28 A.S. Senate meeting is available for the public to view.
Additionally, defamation is defined as unfairly damaging someone’s character through slander or libel. The article did not use any information that was not fact-checked by our teams and verified by several sources.
Schaefer continued, calling for the open censoring of the Nexus’s Lead News Editor Holly Rusch and Deputy News Editor Sindhu Ananthavel. The following email quote is in reference to Rusch and Ananthavel’s reporting.
“That you request the individuals listed above and others to come forth to produce proof and/ or evidence to prove the above allegations are factual. In addition, If the individuals do not produce evidence, I ask that the individuals are officially censored and remove themselves from Associated Students in perpetuity,” Schaefer stated.
Schaefer’s call for evidence can be found in Rusch and Ananthavel’s reporting, where several A.S. members spoke to the struggles they are facing due to the abdication of IVP responsibilities and A.S. internal dysfunction and citations of A.S. Legal Code are provided. This includes the quotes from off-campus Senator Adam Majcher and Deputy Head of Staff in the A.S. Office of the President Andrew Vasquez.
Though Schaefer was under the false assumption that the Daily Nexus was an A.S. entity, we would like to clarify that A.S. has no authority to censor student journalism at the Daily Nexus. Section editors have the power to decline article submissions if they are inaccurate or inappropriate, but ultimately it is the Daily Nexus editor-in-chief and managing editor that would have a final say in journalists or content being censored due to inaccuracy or inappropriate reporting.
We will not condone any active effort by Schaefer or anyone else to suppress student journalists, especially when our content is accurate and adheres to the ethics of journalism. Any attempt to do so would be a violation of our First Amendment rights to freedom of speech and freedom of the press. To clarify, the Daily Nexus will not censor our journalists as they continue to report on this issue accurately and appropriately as they have done so far.
The Daily Nexus Editorial Board would like to clarify that this article is not an invitation to malign, harass or attack Schaefer — rather a clarification of false allegations made against Nexus reporters. We are committed to ensuring that our newspaper will not be a platform where people can threaten anyone’s mental or physical safety or peddle anti-Black language or action.
That being said, the Daily Nexus is a student-run journalistic endeavor dedicated to upholding accountability and transparency within university organizations and county organizations. With trained news editors who attend every weekly Senate meeting and regularly report on internal functions of A.S., our journalists use their institutional knowledge and adhere to high ethical standards continually while reporting on A.S.
The Daily Nexus stands by Rusch and Ananthavel’s reporting on this issue.
Although the entirety of our reporting is made in good faith and with every attempt to report the truth, as student journalists, we are not perfect and make mistakes. If we report false information, we make every effort to correct it as promptly and thoroughly as possible.
Since the publication of these two articles on Sept. 28, Schaefer has made no attempt or effort to contact us about specific factually incorrect statements or provided us with any evidence that we have reported false information. However, if Schaefer or any of our other readers find any published information to be inaccurate, we encourage you to email email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org to issue a timely correction.