Former editor of Virginia Tech newspaper says it’s too late for board to hear her side

VIRGINIA — The former editor in chief of Virginia Tech’s student newspaper has been given a chance to respond to the allegations that led to her firing, but she said “it’s too little, too late” for the Board of Directors to reverse their decision.

“I appreciate that they finally gave some notification regarding why I was fired,” said Erica Corder, former editor in chief of the Collegiate Times, who was fired from the paper in March. “I’m still saddened and frustrated because if I had had a chance to defend myself against those allegations, which are untrue, I think the situation could have been avoided, but I think at this point, it’s a little too far gone.”

The Board of Directors for the Educational Media Company at Virginia Tech — a non-profit organization that oversees all student media at the public institution — said in a news release on Tuesday it would give Corder a chance to respond in writing to “allegations of unprofessionalism, decreased paper quality, failure to communicate and the inability to function effectively as editor in chief,” by April 24. She would then be given a hearing with the board on May 1 where board members could reconsider their decision.

On March 25, Corder was fired in a closed-door board meeting from which she was excluded; she was later told by several participants that the firing was motivated by her pursuit of a news story about the company’s failing finances. She was not given an opportunity to confront or respond to the accusations against her, which is required by the most recent available version of Educational Media’s bylaws.

Corder said wants to speak with her adviser and an attorney before she responds to the board, if she responds at all.

“There’s nothing they can really do to fix what they’ve ruined,” Corder said. “They removed me so quickly and swiftly, and they didn’t want to listen to what I had to say in the first place. It’s just too late.”

Contact SPLC staff writer Mariana Viera by email or at (202) 478-1926.