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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Editorial: Don’t Change That Channel!

Recently, the Undergraduate Student Government went too far in forcibly taking over Stony Brook’s only student-run television station.

On March 25, 2011 the Supreme Court of Stony Brook ruled that the Undergraduate Student Government was allowed to take over and reform SBU-TV because it was an agency of USG and not an independent club.

While the court’s decision may make legal sense, it is still a heavy-handed overextension of what the body should be doing. There is nothing wrong with ordering SBU-TV to change how it operates in order to save money. However, throwing out people who have worked at SBU-TV for years, then attempting to change the locks and suggesting that the executive board of SBU-TV would steal equipment is an insult that goes too far. Paying USG street team members $10 an hour to stake out in front of the SBU-TV office takes it even further across the line.

There is a right way to do things, and no friends are won by treating organizations and people who have been dedicated workers in the manner that USG did.

Perhaps SBU-TV was not a club in and of itself, but when a media outlet is silenced and muzzled overnight — even and especially if it is in the authority of those in power to do so — it is very concerning.

The argument that SBU-TV was not producing content is valid; while many can not say they ever watched the slideshow of outdated material that was shown, it is not an excuse for USG to employ the totalitarian measures it did in shutting SBU-TV down.

The United States government is capable of doing a lot of things that are technically legal, such as eminent domain. However, it is careful how it goes about exercising powers it has, because elected officials fear the backlash of voters who would quickly throw them out and cost them their jobs.

No such fear truly exists at USG. The ruling powers that be have been made up of the same few people who have operated in a revolving door fashion through shuffling positions between themselves and a few newcomers every year. If they feared being kicked out of office by students actually paying attention to what is going on, then perhaps they would tread slightly more carefully when exercising their powers.

 

-Editorial Board

 

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