I’d like to comment on the special election that’s been taking place this week. The election is being held as a student referendum on the whole Student Run Television drama that’s been gripping this school for the past several months. If you want the full story, ask someone else, since I don’t really know much about it (or much else about campus politics. Sorry. I can tell you what’s happening in the Senate race in Minnesota, though! Just not what’s happening in my own backyard.).
What I do know is SRTV was shut down because some administrators and student officers objected to content. That content is widely assumed to be the porn/nudity shown by Steve York (though the actual shutdown was during a political talk show). Of course, say the magic words “porn”, “nudity”, or “sex”, and the brain-dead social conservative reactionaries go into a tizzy. And the same breed of brain-dead social conservative reactionaries outside of UCSD descended on our campus like vultures looking for the stinking carrion that is the political issue of porn. (Apparently – though I can’t attest to this personally – even FOX News came to document the slow-motion kabuki show. Seriously, don’t these guys have anything better to cover?) Like any good controversy, the issue was adorned with a lovely shroud of ignorance and misconceptions; for example, contrary to popular belief, SRTV is not paid with “taxpayer money” but by A.S. student fees.
Apparently none of these ditherheads ever heard of – hmm, I dunno – the FUCKING FIRST AMENDMENT?!!! Say all you want about how “nasty” the porn was, but this is student-run television, and it should be student-run. That means that the students who run it should be able to show and tell whatever they – we – damn please. Don’t like it? Well fuck you and shut up, because you’re (I’m talking to the outsider reactionaries and school administrators not on the A.S. Council) not in charge. And you can’t roll out the usual “oh we need to protect our poor children’s innocent minds” (which is already a dubious-at-best argument) because SRTV is closed-circuit and I don’t think we have any seven-year olds on campus.
So the referendum before us consists of two questions.
Do you vote to override the ASUCSD Council’s adoption of the following amendments to the SRTV Charter:
Bill 119, approved October 26, 2005
SRTV Rules and Regulations
C. Indecent Broadcast Restrictions:
3. Graphic depictions of sexual activity involving nudity are not permitted at any time.
Bill 120, approved October 26, 2005
1. This Charter will expire no later than March 8, 2006.
SRTV Rules and Regulations
1. These Rules and Regulations will expire no later than March 8, 2006.
I will vote Yes. There is no justification in my mind for the blatant censorship that “Indecent Broadcast Restrictions” calls for. These amendments are a direct attack on student activity and the freedom of speech and expression we as Americans hold dear. I can’t put it any more simply or succinctly. These restrictions are wrong, plain and simple, and I will vote to abrogate them.
Do you vote to override the ASUCSD Council’s adoption of the following resolution:
Bill 150, approved November 2, 2005
A Bill to Enforce the SRTV Charter and Rules and Regulations
WHEREAS, Steven W. York is defined as a “producer” by Article C, Section 2 of the Charter of SRTV, a service of the Associated Students, and;
WHEREAS, the above mentioned article of the SRTV Charter states that producers are “held responsible for their own actions,” and;
WHEREAS, Steven W. York, Stevie Why Productions, and Koala TV produced and broadcasted a graphic depiction of sexual activity involving nudity on October 27, 2005 in violation of the SRTV Charter and Rules and Regulations, and;
WHEREAS, the A.S. Council is entitled to resolve non-compliance with the SRTV Charter and Rules and Regulations, and;
WHEREAS, the A.S. Council administers SRTV as a non-public media forum through the implementation of the SRTV Charter and Rules and Regulations, THEN
BE IT ORDERED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE ASSOCIATED STUDENTS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SAN DIEGO THAT effective immediately, Steven W. York, Stevie Why Productions, and Koala TV are barred from utilizing in any way or entering the premises of SRTV, a service of the Associated Students, and that productions emanating from these aforementioned groups and people are strictly forbidden to be aired on SRTV, and;
BE IT ALSO ORDERED BY THE COUNCIL THAT the Station Managers of SRTV shall actively enforce this order of the Council consistent with their managerial responsibilities laid out in the SRTV Charter and Rules and Regulations, and;
BE IT FINALLY ORDERED BY THE COUNCIL THAT the Commissioner of Student Services shall hold the ultimate authority to enforce this order and shall also have as his or her discretion all appropriate means and resources to enforce this order.
I will vote Yes. What is UCSD, a police state? I don’t care how you feel about Steve York – this resolution is wrong and must be overturned. I am indifferent to him, his productions, or to the actual content of SRTV itself, having never actually watched it, but for me this is not an issue of the person or the thing – it’s an issue of the right to free speech and expression, no matter who’s doing it or what s/he’s showing. To explicitly exile York from SRTV when, at least originally, he was able to broadcast his material legitimately is a direct slap in the face of the idea that interested and committed students are entitled to submit their work in the marketplace of ideas.
A hundred years ago, Evelyn Beatrice Hall wrote a summation of the French philosopher Voltaire’s attitude towards different kinds of speech that included the famous words “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”. Today, the would-be tyrants of UCSD are saying “I disapprove of what you say so you’re gonna shut the fuck up.” Well it’s time to shut them the fuck up. Vote Yes on both resolutions in this election.