The decision to remove Alexia Isais from her position at The State Press was made objectively. The personal and political beliefs of those who were involved in the decision were put to the side and the decision was made purely with the intent to uphold our organization’s standards.
After a flurry of misinformation hit the internet following her firing, we want to set the record straight.
Isais was not fired for an “anti-police tweet” as she claims, she was fired because those tweets promoted violence or harm toward a person, and we would take a tweet like that seriously regardless of who it came from or whom it was referencing.
Another major factor behind the decision was because having those original tweets out in public, on behalf of The State Press — which was tagged in her bio — can endanger our staff and newspaper as a whole.
This decision was not made based on one belief or one person, it was about the well-being and standards of our entire newsroom. None of us celebrate this decision, but it came down to protecting our staff from outside harm.
We understand that police are not a marginalized or minority group of people, and we acknowledge that our original statement could have been more accurately worded — it has since been deleted and an explanation for this can be found here. We also understand firsthand and acknowledge the harms and traumas that BIPOC have endured in the way of policing and police brutality.
In her time as a columnist, Isais published roughly a dozen columns which garnered more than 14,000 page views on The State Press. We defended each column, many of which were subject to scrutiny and controversy. We would continue to do so had Isais not advocated for harm in her tweets. Her political views were never the problem.
We highly valued her work as an opinion columnist, as she started important conversations in the ASU community.
In regard to the comparison drawn with Rae’Lee Klein, these situations are not parallel.
Students at Blaze Radio did not have the authority to fire Klein, whereas student leaders at The State Press do have that power.
Additionally, Klein never worked at The State Press. If she did, we would have fired her. We believe that the process of her removal took far too long.
Both Klein and Isais feel that their First Amendment rights were violated. The First Amendment does not protect you from the consequences of your words.
Simply put, the decision to remove Alexia Isais from her position was not an effort to violate her First Amendment right, nor silence her voice as a woman of color.
We believe that this incident crossed a line and, as a newsroom, we have standards that we must uphold.
If any member of our staff, regardless of status or affiliation, had made such comments, no matter the subject of the tweet, they would have faced the same punishment.
Two things can be true at once: You can support the Black Lives Matter movement and believe that there needs to be major police reform or abolition while simultaneously condemning the celebration or encouragement of violence publicly while representing a news organization.
Additionally, we will not ignore allegations that our newsroom is silencing select voices when we are making a consistent, active effort to uplift and promote those same voices.
BIPOC State Press employees were involved in making this decision, and such allegations discredit the work they have done to make not only themselves heard, but also those they have fought tooth and nail to uplift.
Two other columnists resigned following our decision to remove Isais from her position. These columnists could have continued to write columns that reflect their views, and we also would have let them address Isais’ firing in our pages and internally within the organization.
We have stopped the production of opinion columns until we have properly re-evaluated the purpose and mission of the section and recruited a diverse group of columnists to appropriately represent various points of view.
Additionally, we are open to having conversations with any students or organizations about this decision and encourage them to reach out to us with Letters to the Editor about the decision if they feel compelled to do so.
Adrienne Dunn, Executive Editor
Andrew Howard, Editor-in-Chief
Joseph Perez, Magazine Editor-in-Chief
Editors Note: This story was updated at 3:00 p.m. on September 24, 2020 to include and acknowledge the rescinding of the first statement.