$5 Fight Between SUNY Brockport Student Newspaper, Student Government Gets Nasty, Threatening

Over the past three weeks, a $5 fight at SUNY Brockport between The Stylus student newspaper and the student government has escalated into a weird, nasty battle royale involving threats, withholding of student pay, and a Twitter account featuring a dog named Reptar.

As the Student Press Law Center explains, “Last month, Stylus staff noticed that $5.03 was missing in an accounting of money that the paper had fundraised for the Red Cross, [editor-in-chief Cassie] Negley said.  Stylus business manager Lois Caldwell and Negley then asked Student Government business manager Kathy Yarid, who could not explain the discrepancy.  After her discussion with Stylus staff members, Yarid called Caldwell and threatened that ‘there would be hell to pay’ if her name appeared in the paper.”

Then, with minimal warning, Yarid suddenly began enforcing a previously overlooked deadline for the submission of student worker timecards.  Stylus staffers missed the deadline, meaning they would not receive their regular checks until the next pay period at the earliest.  Yarid told the paper her random deadline push was not a $5.03 retaliation– instead it was carried out because “there’s too much going on [and] and I need to dot my I’s and cross my T’s.”  Hmm.


Next up, Reptar.  A tweet appeared from the account @LedoggyReptar threatening Stylus EIC Negley: “@brockportstylus someone please break negleys fingers and greatly improve the quality of this toilet paper you call the stylus.”  Soon after, Brian Witmer, the student government vice president, confirmed the account name is a play off his own dog Reptar.

The tweet has since been deleted, although a few others critical of the Stylus remain. Example, from Valentine’s Day: “The only good use of @brockportstylus is lining my cage #absorbent.”

The SPLC: “@LedoggyReptar’s tweets are typically funny, Witmer said, but the tweet involving Negley ‘crossed the line.’  Witmer said he yelled at ‘eight or nine guys’ who he thinks might be responsible for the account.”

Negley reported the tweet/threat to police.  And Stylus editors penned an open letter expressing their loss of confidence in Yarid as student government business manager.

One Response to “$5 Fight Between SUNY Brockport Student Newspaper, Student Government Gets Nasty, Threatening”
  1. Alex W says:

    I don’t understand how this meets the definition of a threat. In fact, it seems like protected free speech to me, it doesn’t threaten any actual action against someone. Despicable? yes. Illegal? I highly doubt it. More dubious legal advice from the SPLC.