February 9, 2020
Dear YARC members,
We regret to inform you that on February 8, 2020, the Young Hams Discord server fell victim to an unlawful takeover by Scott Stelloh, KD2LWH, then-President of the Young Amateurs Radio Club.
For those of you not involved with the Club’s Discord server, Discord is an app that provides audio and text chatting services for free. In a nutshell, it is a more modern implementation of an online chatroom such as IRC. It is the primary form of communication between our club members and handles dozens of amateur radio-related discussions for the club every day. The Club’s server represents our biggest asset as a community, with over a thousand members.
In an attempt to establish total control over the Club and server, Stelloh transferred the server ownership from the YARC Discord account jointly controlled by the Board to his personal Discord account. With the new privileges, Stelloh banned Board Members Abigail Gold, VA2SHF, and Matthew Spiker, KE8FGB (@ntoskrnl), from the server over personal disagreements, and removed server bots @qrm (written by Gold) and @Arby’s (written by Spiker). To complete the takeover, Stelloh disabled most Board Members’ access to YARC’s website, Mailchimp, G Suite, and Twitter, among other services. The next day, Stelloh published an announcement on Discord, which contains unsubstantiated claims that Gold was banned “due to multiple instances of mod favoritism towards a server member with whom she is close” and Spiker was banned “due to repeated s***-stirring and provoking of multiple individuals, including myself and the Trustee, Ben.” To support his actions, Stelloh also published a new and legally void “Constitution” after the event, without advance notice and a majority vote of the Board (as required in YARC Constitution Article VII), in which he greatly expanded the President’s and Vice President’s powers.
There is no doubt that Stelloh’s behavior is utterly unprofessional and, most importantly, in blatant violation of the Club’s governing documents. Stelloh was also notably absent from club functions during his presidency, including scheduled Board meetings. You may find the Club’s Constitution and Bylaws here, as ratified by the Board on July 19, 2019, and the Board and Ambassadors’ most recent regular meeting minutes from February 1, 2020 here.
Through further investigation, we found evidence that led us to reasonably believe that then-Trustee Benjamin Johnson, AB3NJ, and then-YARC Ambassador Timothy Keller, KE2GKB, had been in contact with Stelloh and that they were supportive of his actions.
Within an hour of the incident, the Board convened and resolved to:
Remove Stelloh from the office of President,
Remove Johnson from the office of Trustee,
Remove Keller from the position of YARC Ambassador, and
Elect YARC Ambassador Jaxon J. Dupre, N0XNN, to the Board,
At this point, the Board is doing everything in our power to regain access to YARC services affected by the takeover. In the meantime, we have created a temporary Discord server in which members may continue their discussions as usual. You may join the server here: https://discord.gg/ermTXt3.
We would like to reassure you that no matter what happens, the YARC Board will always stay true to its mission of promoting youth in amateur radio and providing an inclusive and diverse community for young hams worldwide, where everyone is welcome to join. We know you have devoted so much of your time helping us build up this wonderful community, and we’d hate to see it taken away.
We will keep you updated as we move forward with this process. Due to the volatile nature of this situation, we expect disruptions to the @yarc.world email service, so until further notice, please direct all questions to [email protected]mail.yarc.world. Thank you for your continued support of YARC.
Your YARC Board
Caleb Smith, KZØP
Jaxon J. Dupre, NØXNN
Abigail Gold, VA2SHF
Zhenhao Yang, KN8U/BH4EPL
Matthew Spiker, KE8FGB
Sterling Mann, NØSSC