Pitt student newspaper fires editor for secret society membership

April 16, 2013 at 2:43 PM

PITTSBURGH, April 16 (UPI) -- An opinion writer was fired from the University of Pittsburgh student newspaper for his membership in a politically connected secret society, the editor said.

Amy Friedenberger, editor in chief of The Pitt News, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Tuesday she fired assistant opinion page editor Nick Stamatakis because he was a member of the Druids, a secret society the student publication had recently investigated for its ties to student government.

The Pitt News published the expose about the Druids, questioning the relationship between members of the robe-clad secret society and student government. Six of the nine members of the Pitt student government board and the student body president -- for whom Stamatakis wrote the paper's endorsement -- are thought to be Druids. The board is responsible for doling out $2 million in student fees to organizations on campus.

Friedenberger said the decision to fire Stamatakis was difficult.

"Unfortunately, neither I nor past editors could have anticipated one of our own employees being a member of a secret society," she said in a letter to readers. "It was an unprecedented situation that involved considerable discussion and difficult decision-making regarding a group we knew little about and a devoted newspaper employee."

Stamatakis denied any wrongdoing.

"I stayed very impartial," he said. "I feel I tried to walk as ethical a line as I could."

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