Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
January 26, 2023

SGA discusses espionage charges and relationship with The News-Letter

By EDDIE TOR | April 1, 2022

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COURTESY OF CLAIRE BADREAU

SGA discussed legislation relating to recent News-Letter behavior.

APRIL FOOL’S: This article was published as part of The News-Letter’s annual April Fool’s edition, an attempt at adding some humor to a newspaper that is normally very serious about its reporting. 

The Student Government Association (SGA) held its weekly meeting on March 28 to discuss charges of espionage against The News-Letter, a reevaluation of its relationship with the University’s student-run newspaper and some other uninteresting bureaucracy. 

Espionage charges 

SGA members discussed a bill formally accusing The News-Letter of espionage regarding SGA’s highly secretive (and drama-filled) closed sessions and sanctioning the paper for doing so. Closed sessions, according to the SGA constitutions, are designed “to deliberate upon impeachment and other sensitive matters deemed necessary by the Senate.”

  • The bill, presented by Executive Council President Millie Eisenhower, accused The News-Letter of "heinous acts of espionage and a breach of the integrity of our closed sessions.” In retaliation, the bill would authorize the SGA executive board to detain The News-Letter writers without warning as well as seize and destroy any writing materials it deems a breach of security.
  • Eisenhower argued that The News-Letter "violated our trust by intruding on what is explicitly closed off to the public. We made it clear that some business stays out of the paper.”
  • The News-Letter Editor present at the meeting, Eddie Tor, dismissed these concerns as overblown. “This is all a misunderstanding,“ Tor said. “What really happened was that our assigned writer fell asleep during the meeting and nobody there realized this until he woke up during the closed session.”
  • Tor noted that this wasn’t entirely surprising that one would fall asleep at an SGA meeting, commenting, “I mean, come on? Have you been to these things? They spend up to two to three hours on a Tuesday night hashing out some dry bureaucratic procedure or a bill vote where either it’s unanimous approval or someone decides to do some unnecessary performative theatrics that holds up everything.” 
  • Eisenhower disagreed, claiming that she has evidence of an espionage conspiracy. “Based on the results of interrogating the writer via driving them to insanity by forcing them to listen to a copy of the SGA bylaws, we have conclusive proof that the editors sleep-deprived their writer in order for them to fall asleep during the meeting and wake up during the closed session,” she said.
  • These concerns were again viewed dismissively by Tor, who remarked that “there are so many other causes for sleep deprivation here at Hopkins and The News-Letter is only one of them.” 
  • The bill was unsurprisingly and disturbingly passed unanimously. Tor joked, “I am not sure whether to be amused or frightened that this is one of the few consequential things SGA actually has done. I guess they finally got some power in the end.”
  • Tor also asked, “Why such secrecy? I mean, what could they be possibly discussing in there that needs to be kept under wraps? A luxurious cruise? A trip to Cancún?” 

Reevaluating the relationship

The accusations of espionage have prompted renewed calls among SGA members to reevaluate the relationship between them and the paper.

  • Junior Class Senator Quad Keyser expressed her concern at what she views as the intrusive nature of The News-Letter. “They’re like a toxic ex that you need to dump,” she said. “They show up to all of our meetings to know what we’re up to — and this spying scandal isn’t helping.” 
  • Tor responded to this jab by saying, “First of all, bold of you to assume that Hopkins students will understand dating analogies. Second of all, why in the world use a romantic relationship as a parallel to this one? If anything, the relationship between the press and a government isn’t supposed to be exactly the ideal couple.”
  • Sophomore Class Senator Bee Level concurred, adding that SGA members should just conduct more of their business in the closed sessions in order to shield them from The News-Letter. 
  • Freshman Class President Aae Level pushed for an even more radical solution, suggesting, “We should just ban the paper from attending our meetings and only let them attend at our discretion.” He also suggested that SGA “supervise what is written in order to ensure that the information is truthful and correct. Do you know how many times they misquote us? Also, I don’t like their coverage sometimes.” 
  • Tor commented that “this is a poorly disguised attempt to crack down on free press. At least this time the meeting is interesting.”

The bureaucratic procedural work 

Per usual, SGA also went through the usual bureaucratic steps that it does for every meeting. 

  • SGA members voted unanimously to create an anti-espionage committee with Aae Level being confirmed as its chair and Bee Level as its co-chair.

SGA also agreed to table future discussion on sanctions against The News-Letter for a future meeting.


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