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Op-Ed: Response from Kimiko Hirota to recent Fountain Hopper allegations

Recently, the Fountain Hopper published a story that called into question my personal integrity on multiple accounts. As the Daily continues to work on news coverage about this situation, I thought it would be best that I at least clarify the record before we know the outcome of the election. I never planned on needing to comment on the topics below, but the allegations and critiques raised either inaccurately represented my own words or didn’t request my comment. I appreciate the FoHo’s sincere apology to me since its publication, but unfortunately this apology doesn’t undo the damage done.

On the allegation that I or my friends would go public with stories of emotional abuse:

The claim that I or my friends would go public with allegations of emotional abuse against Erica Scott’s former ASSU Executive running-mate is untrue. When providing my comment to the FoHo, I made it abundantly clear that I didn’t meet with Erica to let her know that I would go public with emotional abuse allegations if her former running-mate’s candidacy continued. It is extremely hurtful that this is the narrative being presented, considering I expressly tried to prevent the entire Stanford community from knowing about a traumatic and painful personal relationship. Since that relationship, I have only wished to heal and move on. This article has made it extremely difficult to do so.

I find it deeply disturbing that running for student government would involve such deeply personal attacks. I am appalled by the anonymous allegations published by the FoHo that I would threaten to disclose the details of a personal relationship to win a student office. I strongly denied these allegations to the FoHo when they interviewed me, and they mischaracterized my response.

On the critique of my role in obtaining increased funding for Stanford’s community centers:

As a woman of color, I think it is important to refute claims by Kojoh Atta that I was taking too much credit for my work. Too often women are denied due credit for their labor, and this is exactly what happened in the ASSU Exec debate. To be clear, I never claimed that I, alone, did this work, although that is what Kojoh has consistently claimed. Please watch the debate for Kojoh’s criticisms at 1:08:35 and 1:21:00 and my rebuttal at 1:17:35. I presented the facts — that I organized weekly meetings with community center student staff and other interested leaders last year to mobilize a push for increased community center funding. Together, we released op-eds explaining the significance of our community centers and met with the Vice Provost for Student Affairs, who gave our petition and testimonials to the Provost’s Budget Group. Our coalition successfully influenced the Budget Group to allocate the largest amount of funding to Student Affairs last year. I am proud of this work and as a woman of color feel it is important not to minimize my own contributions.

On the critique of my op-ed about MLK Day:

As a Research Assistant at the King Institute for a year and a thesis writer under the guidance of Dr. Clayborne Carson, I have enjoyed the work that the King Institute produces, and it has become an important place to me, personally. From Dr. Carson’s mentorship and the research I’ve been able to conduct through the Institute, I find it offensive that Stanford doesn’t prioritize a better building to the largest collection of Dr. King’s work and shared this sentiment in my op-ed. These experiences and conversations with Dr. Carson and other King Institute researchers have deeply shaped my perspective of Stanford’s priorities. I have never claimed to be the only one who holds this view.

In the future, I hope facts and policies guide campus discourse, rather than rumors and personal attacks.

Thank you,

Kimiko Hirota ’20

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