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Stanford student paper’s columnist loses job for writing about Chelsea

September 30, 1997

STANFORD, Calif. (AP) _ Don’t ask. Don’t tell. And, as a Stanford Daily columnist learned, don’t opine _ if your subject is Chelsea Clinton.

Jesse Oxfeld, a senior at Stanford, lost his job at the student newspaper after writing about the first daughter in a column his boss considered a violation of her strict policy of not covering the president’s daughter.

He wrote an opinion piece about the media coverage of Chelsea’s arrival Sept. 19, accompanied by her parents. Hundreds of reporters descended on campus but were kept at a distance from the Clintons, who wanted to be like any other family seeing a child off to college.

``First, why, precisely, is it that we’re all expected to bend over backward to give Chelsea and her family a `normal’ Stanford experience while the first family itself is under no similar obligation?″ Oxfeld wrote.

He also criticized the Daily’s rule of not writing about Chelsea unless she does something newsworthy, something that the paper would write about if she were just anyone else.

Oxfeld called the rule ``Clintonian.″

He described it like this: ``Don’t ask (anything abut her life,) don’t tell (anyone outside the campus what you might happen to discover about her life), don’t pursue (her, at all.)″

Stanford Daily editor in chief Carolyn Sleeth decided Oxfeld’s column didn’t fit in with the paper’s guidelines for covering Chelsea. She killed the column on Thursday, after the writer refused to revise it.

``He submitted something and I chose not to run it. I said I wouldn’t be using his work,″ Sleeth told the San Jose Mercury News for a story published today.

Oxfeld, previously the paper’s managing editor, may not be without other journalistic options. Since Chelsea announced she was going to Stanford, he has discussed her choice for National Public Radio, Time magazine and the Today Show, among others.

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