Anonymous group vandalizes The Vagus Nerve
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Attack targets CSUN, pseudonymed author of controversial essay
After an article in the latest issue of the CSUN-operated art magazine The Vagus Nerve prompted a case of anonymous vandalism by students, the staff at the UNLV publication is now taking steps to stop a controversy before it starts.
The vandalism occurred Tuesday evening, after a fashion article by a student writing under the pseudonym “Drew Dixon” asserted that certain women should not wear leggings, referring to the latest fashion craze of wearing leggings as pants — a fashion staple that Dixon recommended only be worn by those who look good in the tight garment.
“Some girls should only wear jeans, good dark jeans,” the article said, “and put down the Twinkie.”
A group of students ripped the article in question out of a number of copies of the magazine, but not before defacing them with Twinkies and erecting a sign reading “CSUN give the Vagus Nerve back to the arts.”
“The Vagus Nerve has never belonged to the art department,” said Zackery Williams, the CSUN Director of Publications. “It has always belonged to CSUN.”
Williams said that while he thinks the students’ actions were deplorable, he is willing to meet with them at a town hall event scheduled for Feb. 16, organized to give those involved an outlet to voice their criticisms in public.
“I can understand their frustration if they had talked to me beforehand,” Williams said, “but they didn’t.”
The Vagus Nerve Editor Chelsea Sendgraff said that the situation could have been handled differently.
Sendgraff said that she did not review the article in question before it was printed, as she was out of town during the time of publication.
“[The article] was completely offensive and should have never gone to print,” she said.
Sendgraff also said that if she would have had the opportunity to edit the article beforehand, she would have removed the offending part.
“That has nothing to do with fashion,” Sendgraff said. “People should be free to wear whatever they want.”
She said she was confused as to why the students decided to lash out rather than contact her personally.
“We encourage our readers to comment and criticize on anything they don’t like,” she said.
It was for this reason, she said, that the magazine’s website allows visitors to comment on issues and features.
“If there is a problem we’re going to fix it,” Sendgraff said.
Williams speculated that the students’ actions might also have been in response to the change in direction that The Vagus Nerve has taken under his leadership.
“The Vagus Nerve wasn’t supposed to be here,” he said.
After some CSUN senators voiced concern last summer over the magazines budget and its relatively low readership, the senate voted to cut its budget.
To compensate, Williams said that he is gearing the magazine to a broader audience.
“I spent less money in a year than the last director did in a semester,” he said.
Instead of following the magazine’s old convention of printing just student poetry, fiction and visual art, Williams is now including features like movie reviews and articles focusing on local artists.
Williams said that he found it strange that students would protest the magazine’s shift in content when the total number of student submissions for the current issue was just two.
However, he did take partial responsibility.
“It’s my fault for not marketing it more,” he said.
Williams said that The Vagus Nerve desperately wants student submissions and that he will continue to urge students to submit as much of their work as possible.
Ian Whitaker reports on CSUN student government for The Rebel Yell. Contact him at email@example.com.