SPLC clears staff of allegations and explains rights within public sessions


In light of recent world events, Fourth Estate has decided to pursue coverage of all topics on campus including recent developments in Israel and Palestine.

Following our coverage, Fourth Estate staff have endured extensive reactions both online, in-person, outside of the writer’s works and into the personal lives of the staff throughout the semester. Allegations were additionally made against the staff pertaining to their actions in reporting and gathering information. 

Shortly after allegations were launched, a meeting was held with Mike Hiestand, Senior Legal Counsel for the Student Press Law Center.

After reviewing the actions from staff during interviews held on March 14 and recent publications, Hiestand confirmed that no instances of “harassment” or “doxxing” have taken place from Fourth Estate staff, and that the staff have performed within their rights as reporters.

Hiestand additionally reflected that within a public session, reporters reserve the right to ask questions and utilize all information revealed within the session. This includes Student Government meetings.

“Those who voluntarily offer comments during a public session of the Student Senate, SGA Cabinet and the Board of Visitors have no ‘reasonable expectation of privacy’ — and thus no legal protection — that their names and comments won’t be publicly reported,” Hiestand said.

Fourth Estate commits to practicing fair and accurate journalism standards. All publications are subject to diligent copy editing and review for bias before publishing. Interviews are verified and accurately quoted from recorded conversations.

Fourth Estate continues to commit to reporting the facts in all situations on campus.

Such reporting may include when and where protests occur, quotes from protestors, chants made, content from published statements, personal testimonies, verification of claims and information volunteered within public sessions. Fourth Estate does not endorse any one view as a newspaper, and reporting of said information is not a reflection of an endorsement.

All organizations and parties have been, and are always invited to share their stories and perspectives to showcase the depth of the student body and occurrences at Mason.

During their tenure, each Editor-in-Chief reserves the right to decide the editorial direction of the newspaper, what coverage is made and all executive decisions.

Editor-in-Chief Erica Munisar oversees the finalization of all articles and approves the posting of each publication. Munisar takes full responsibility for all coverage and executive decisions made within the 2023-2024 academic year.

The Mason community is encouraged to provide feedback to Fourth Estate. Members of the community may send Letters to The Editor, inquiries and general questions to



Erica Munisar

2023-2024 Editor-in-Chief