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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


USG Aiming At The Media Again

I find it incredibly disheartening that less than one year after the Undergraduate Student Government sought, and failed, to flex its non-existent pectoral muscles by cutting The Statesman’s budget, it is once again trying to annihilate a media outlet by killing off the only closed-circuit television station on campus.

For those readers who are unfamiliar with last year’s brouhaha, the former treasurer claimed we were “fiscally irresponsible.”  The Statesman filed a lawsuit. We got our money back. Moiz Khan resigned as treasurer shortly afterwards.

So here we are again. Another spring, another bored USG, another media outlet on the chopping block.

In the past, USG has criticized the television station for not always taping the government’s weekly meetings. The television station’s argument has been: stop cutting our funding, and we will tape anything you want.

This year, USG has made a push to ramp up eternally-lagging campus spirit by bringing mediocre talent to Stony Brook.  Well, I don’t think that bringing in outside talent one day and killing off inside talent the next would make the student body actually turn out for your elections any more.

USG’s Vice President of Communications David Mazza, told The Statesman that reasoning behind the decision came about because of the way consumers find their news.  True, with the advent of the Internet, more of the younger crowd gets their news online. This is no secret.  The School of Journalism offers classes that discuss this subject. Perhaps Mr. Mazza has taken one and now deems himself an expert.

However, is this rather rash decision really one that should be up to the student government to decide?  Did you try discussing this at all with the television station? Maybe pitch to them the possibility of taking their content to the web?  But that would go against the part of your constitution that prohibits you from altering press distribution, so I guess it’s just easier to get rid of them altogether.

I don’t understand how an institution like Stony Brook, with all its “red-hot” tape, can let a bunch of students with agendas and grudges rule the roost.  Where are their parents?!  I sincerely hope the school doesn’t let this happen.  If the administration does not try to interfere, then it proves they are just interested in taking our tuition, not in helping the students.

There are plenty of new media outlets on campus, but SBU-TV is the only television station.  Shouldn’t they have some pull with the fact that they are part of the school’s history? Before the School of Journalism existed, this was the only place for broadcast students to practice their craft and for many, this is still the only place for them to practice.

I am currently attending Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, and would not have made the cut had it not been for Stony Brook University’s campus media. I owe my future career to a newsroom located in the belly of the Union building, as do many alumni.

It would be a shame if future students never have this chance.

If the student government has its way, this would set a dangerous precedent for the future. They didn’t succeed last year and hopefully they won’t this year. But will the third time be a charm? I seriously hope not.

If television ratings are what USG is concerned about, SBU-TV’s can’t be half as bad as the four percent of the campus that turned out to vote in the November 2009 election.  This year’s turnout was even worse.  In that case, maybe the student government should be the one to go. This way the school can save the television station with the plump paychecks the USG senators give themselves.


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