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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


SBU-TV Supreme Court Decision to be Appealed

The decision by Undergraduate Student Government’s Supreme Court, which favored USG against SBU-TV for closing the closed-circuit on-campus television channel, is being appealed by the station.

Reasons for the decision to appeal include not being recognized as a club, USG President Matthew Graham leaving the room during voting time and the channel being a member of the press.

“We’re not denying it’s a quasi-independent agency,” said Brandon Baiden, a member of SBU-TV. “But it’s still a club.”

According to the decision, which was headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Julian Cordero, who was appointed by USG, the question in the case was whether USG had the legal authority to close the offices of SBU-TV and transfer them to the USG Office of Communications. Many questions were brought up by SBU-TV, the petitioner, that were not answered because they did not relate to legal aspects of the court case.

“I think it’s very obvious students involved are extremely passionate,” said Moiz Khan Malik, a member of the defending side, who is also running in the upcoming elections for USG president. “This is the first time I’ve been on a winning side of a brief.”

The court case was originally brought up when the Reformation of Stony Brook Television Act was brought to the Senate floor last minute Thursday night and approved by a 12-2-5. The change removed its current staff and replaced them with USG-chosen staff, which USG members said will improve the organization.

“It has to be something that benefits the campus community,” Malik said. Ways to do that will include “multimedia services, some elements of photo.”

USG decided to close SBU-TV originally because they were being given $35,000 and didn’t do much.

“I think the court is right,” Graham said. “We save money by closing the closed-circuit.”
According to Graham, USG would like to see SBU-TV move in a new direction, including online, and to be “a place for students to get information.”

But Baiden said the station is still “protected by club bylaws,” he said. “No matter how we became, were formed, acted.”

“Traditional or non-traditional, the fact still remains that SBU-TV was a club, which was also stated and acknowledged in the respondents’ brief. SBU-TV was funded as a club by USG since it’s existence. We feel that the court failed to look over the clubs and organizations Bill of Rights, in which SBU-TV is protected under because it is a club,” read the appeal document, which was sent early Sunday morning. “Not only is SBU-TV a club, it is a media organization and is insured by USG as media.”

But the decision said there is no clear attempt to alter the broadcasting agency.

“The limiting of SBU-TV’s press distribution cannot be detangled from the closure of Closed Circuit Television operations for which Legislative and Executive bodies no longer have confidence in as the proper medium for marketing and communication for Stony Brook University,” as written in the decision.

Another issue presented in the appeal was Graham leaving during the Senate meeting. According to the USG Constitution, a voting member cannot leave during a vote.
Graham said neither he, nor any executive council member, has voting rights and that “the room was not reserved for past 9 [p.m.] so I stepped out to ask if it would be alright to take some extra time.”

The appeal is still pending in the USG Supreme Court.

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  • A

    AnonymousApr 4, 2011 at 1:23 pm

    Update on Young Americans for Freedom, who were seeking USG funding, but were denied:

    Stony Brook “Restore[s] Sanity,” Declares Young Americans for Freedom Eligible for Funding!

    Again, USG puts its tail between its legs and the “SBU Students First” party is at the center of another controversy. Vote Them OUT!

  • A

    AnonymousApr 2, 2011 at 11:46 am

    Senate Meeting Minutes 9/11/08:

    Senator Brady asked whether Statesman was on an even playing ground with the other newspapers on campus or if it was treated as an extension of USG, in terms of insurance underwriting and other issues.

    Eunice Ro, Administrative Director of USG answered Senator Brady’s question by explaining that the Statesman incorporated a long time and consequently they are their own publisher. USG acts as the publisher for the rest of the newspapers on campus and assumes the liability for them. USG does not underwrite the insurance for the Statesman, they are currently buying their own.

    Senator Brady asked Ms. Ro why the Statesman incorporated themselves.

    Ms. Ro replied that they chose to incorporate themselves a long time ago.

    Senator Potenza asked for clarification in terms of whether or not the contract gave USG space for articles or advertisements in the paper.

    Ms. Ro replied that the contract did not grant USG space in the paper but just bought a subscription from the Statesman to make the papers accessible on campus. She explained that because we essentially own the other student newspapers accessibility is not an issue with them.

    So, does this mean that if you are funded by USG, you are an extension of it and USG “ESSENTIALLY” owns and can take total control of your club or organization, just like they did with SBU-TV?

    Where is that written?

    What Ms. Ro is saying, is that if USG funds and provides insurance coverage for a club or organization, USG “essentially” owns them. Doesn’t this make all clubs and organizations quasi-independent?

    USG even lists SBU-TV as a funded club which it does on Sbulife:

    Stony Brook University Television is The State University of New York at Stony Brook’s student cable television station broadcasting on campus and online. SBU-TV provides entertaining and educational programming and gives students of any major the opportunity to learn the inner-workings of a television station. Tune into Channel 20 for SBUTV. Club meetings are held Wednesday’s from 12:50pm – 2:00pm in SB Union Room 076 (in the basement).

    This club is funded by the mandatory Student Activity Fee collected by the Undergraduate Student Government.

    Website []
    Allocate Club #187

    SBU-TV is registered with Student Activities, they have their own constitution and they have met all USG requirements for funding, just like any other club or organization on campus. They are a club.

    SSC, A/V, Events Management and even the USG Ticket office are not independently registered with Student Activities, making them a part of USG which is registered and covers these “Agencies” under the USG Constitution.

    You can’t have it both ways USG!

    USG seems to forget that they are a group of students responsible for recognizing, funding and regulating student clubs and organizations in accordance with the State University of New York Chancellor’s Guidelines for the mandatory student activity fee disbursement, along with Education Law and the NYCRR.

    Watch out Stony Brook Press, the USG Street Team may be at your door next.

    Another 20 bucks paid to the Supreme Court Justice, and you’re out of here!