My name is Andrew Lee and I am a freshman at Stanford. A couple days ago, I got an anonymous email from the Fountain Hopper. They wanted to ask some questions about John Rice-Cameron (my friend who is the head of Stanford College Republicans) and Turning Point USA (a conservative organization I’d heard some friends mention — I didn’t know it was involved on college campuses). Above all, the FoHo repeatedly intimated that they were “not out to get anyone, they just wanted to ask some questions.” I was slightly spooked by the unsolicited email, so I went downstairs to talk with my friend and running-mate Antonio Avalos about it.
A few days later, the FoHo published an article. It alleged that I was a conservative pawn who brought “dark money” into the Stanford system. It said that I “evaded their questions” with an “eerie” response, and that I was an “inexperienced” freshman, exploited by SCR.
Here is my statement, word-for-word as I sent it to the Fountain Hopper. It is the truth, the whole truth, and not just the snippets gleefully stitched together by the editors of FoHo.
I’m a freshman from Stanford and I have been interested in running for Senate with my friend Jose Antonio from my dorm since the beginning of the year. He and I wanted to campaign together. Very early in the election season, (during the petition-gathering process) some of Jose’s friends who were also interested in running were creating a slate because they thought it could help them in the election. They wanted us to participate, and we agreed.
However, a few days in we had differences of opinion with some of the other candidates in the slate. I didn’t know many of these people well enough to feel comfortable endorsing them, so Jose and I decided to split from them, before the official campaign began. We wanted to run our own campaign with our own issues without becoming part of something larger. This is the only time we were involved in a “slate” of any kind.
I have some friends in SCR, including two people from my dorm, and one other who went to my high school and graduated in my class. Some of these people wanted me to win the election, and a few helped us hang fliers. But I never took funds from anyone, especially not from Turning Point USA.
I don’t like the implication that I was in the employ of anyone besides myself. I stand by the issues I campaigned on, which included free printing every quarter, and iClickers owned by the University so that students don’t have to buy them or rent every quarter. If I run for Senate again next year, I’ll run on the same issues, which are apolitical as they are important.
Jose Antonio and I managed our own campaign, made our own fliers, and paid for them with our own money. He is a conservative, and I am a liberal, and we try not to let our political differences come between us. As friends, we’re sorry we didn’t win the election, but will do our best in the future if we run again.
I hope this helps,
Besides implying that I hadn’t actually campaigned (I spent long hours flyering walls, and plenty of money making flyers), the FoHo article snarkily referred to me as “$ketchy,” and said that my campaign was somehow derivative of others because it mentioned Ubers (I drafted my platform on my own with my friend Antonio, in my dorm room, instead of doing homework on a Tuesday night).
The Fountain Hopper’s principal complaint seems to be that my reply to their email resembled my friend’s too much, which was probably because we are two freshmen who wrote our emails together in his dorm room, understandably frightened by an email that repeated that it was “not out to get anyone” three times. When another email arrived the next morning, I declined to respond.
It’s hard to articulate just how nasty the FoHo’s article was. Behind the veil of anonymity, the FoHo has had the opportunity to spread lies and salacious falsehoods professionally disguised as journalism. Without producing a single source of evidence, it has damaged my reputation, as well as the reputation of my closest friend on campus. Its allegations are not held to any standard of integrity. If it lies, corrections are rarely made and no one is ever on the hook.
The Fountain Hopper is a tabloid rag, but its actions have real consequences. The false implication that I am a “creepy” conservative shill exists on the internet, where a potential employer might see it. If falsely accusing a freshman of being a member of a undercover conservative super-PAC is what passes for journalism on this campus, our university is in a sad state indeed.
For all those reading this, I urge you to unsubscribe from the Fountain Hopper. I know I will.
Andrew Lee, Class of 2021