IGNITE cuts off The Avro Post, demanding faculty oversight

The acting communications director and president of IGNITE said on Tuesday that they would no longer respond to media requests from The Avro Post until the publication obtained a faculty advisor, pointing to what they claimed were inaccuracies in several articles.

Two reporters were seated in a meeting room inside IGNITE’s offices at North Campus with Acting Communications Director Unika Hypolite and President Monica Khosla. The expectation was that the Post would be interviewing the president for the first time, as confirmed earlier.

Hypolite and Khosla said that before the interview could start, they wanted to go over several items. Khosla asked how The Avro Post fact-checked stories before publishing, to which the Post reporters gave a detailed response going over the process, which usually includes audio recordings.

The president, who was re-elected last spring, then pointed out what she claimed were several errors in The Post’s reporting.

The Post reported on Oct. 4 following a press briefing that IGNITE plans to phase out student access to Board of Directors meetings. Khosla said that the report was incorrect and that students will always be able to attend, but only with director approval.

“What was said was that members traditionally have had the option and the privilege to attend Board meetings, but moving forward, should those same students like to [attend], it will have to be a consensus between the Board members,” she said.

Khosla later specified that the Board will pick and choose which students can stay or who will be kicked out by a majority vote.

The Avro Post had previously reported that the new policy, as of this fall, was that Board members would actively have to vote to not allow a student to be at the meeting, which was announced at the Oct. 4 press briefing.

However, at the time, officials added that, eventually, IGNITE wanted to change the rules and have the meetings be completely private, which Khosla disputed. The Avro Post stands by this reporting as accurate.

It is unclear how students who want to attend the meetings will able to enter as the times and locations were removed from the Governance page on the IGNITE website sometime between Aug. 14 and late September.

When questioned about this, Hypolite said that they would be informing students of future meeting time and locations soon.

The second error that Khosla pointed out was a mistake by Post reporters. The Post reported that Peter Seney was the ex-communications director when he is actually the former communications coordinator. A notice of correction has been made and the stories are fixed with the right terms.

Khosla also pointed out that it was Hypolite that said at the Oct. 4 press briefing IGNITE was supporting the academics of journalism students by facilitating interviews.

Hypolite asked that there be no photography or audio recording taken during the press briefing on Oct. 4 or for what was originally scheduled to be an interview on Tuesday, while at the same time demanding accuracy.

When a Post reporter pointed out that the rule against audio recording was an issue for student journalists and could hinder such accuracy, Hypolite only said: “that’s your position.”

Reporting by Eli Ridder, Kristy 
Lam. With files from Arnold
Samson, Melissa Lopez.

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