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UCSD Guardian Online


									UCSD Guardian Online                                                   

                                              Wednesday, May 30, 2007

                       A.S. Council pulls plug on SRTV
          Search       Content feud climaxes with station’s closure
                       By VLADIMIR KOGAN                                                                       What did you think
                       Senior Staff Writer                                                                     of Sun God 2007?
                       The months-long debate over free speech                                                    Amazing!
                       and broadcast decency came to a head late
                                                                                                                  I had fun
                       last week, when angry student leaders
                                                                                                                  It was OK
                       ordered administrators to pull the plug on
                       Student-Run Television, taking the station                                                 Lame
                       off the air.
                                                                          Article Options
                       “This is the last place I wanted to be          Post/View Comments
                       tonight,” said a visibly upset A.S. Vice       Printer Friendly Version
                       President Finance Greg Murphy shortly after       Email This Article
                       10 p.m. on Nov. 3, minutes after making the
                       call to Triton Cable operators to cut the
                       station’s signal and after angry SRTV members confronted him outside of
                       the station’s office.

                       A.S. Commissioner of Student Services Maurice Junious — the executive
                       whose office oversees SRTV — had asked Murphy and Commissioner of
                       Communications Soap Chum to monitor the station on Nov. 4, after learning
                       through media reports that John Muir College senior Steve York had
                       planned to broadcast another pornographic video. York’s previous porn
                       broadcasts, aired last spring and again last month, ignited a national media
                       storm and triggered efforts by the A.S. Council to pass regulations governing
                       SRTV content.

                       The day before the plug was pulled, the A.S. Council passed legislation
                       banning York and his “Koala TV” show. Junious had dispatched Murphy
                       and Chum to enforce the ban, telling them in an e-mail to have violators
                       escorted from the station by campus police.

                       When the signal was cut, York was again on the screen, this time in the form
                       of a taped interview broadcast by Earl Warren College senior Daniel Watts,              Jewelry - Jewelry Tips
                       the host of the political show “Perfect Vision” on Warren College                       on Birthstones,
                       Television. Though SRTV co-Manager Andrew Tess had let Murphy and                       Diamonds, and Gems
                       Chum into the station earlier, they stepped outside shortly before Watts’               Compare Mortgage
                       show began and found themselves locked out.                                             Quotes
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                       “That’s when we knew something was up,” Chum said later.

                       Murphy pounded on the door as he saw the interview come on, during which
                       York offered commentary on the council’s ban. Later, Murphy recalled that
                       he could not hear the video from outside of the door, making the decision to
                       take the signal down after seeing York’s face on the screens inside.

                       “It was not a scheduled show,” Murphy said to an angry crowd that was
                       helping Watts with the show, as the two sides met outside of the station.
                       “You guys violated the rules.”

                       Several students reacted angrily.

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UCSD Guardian Online                                                    

                       “Is this your guys’ doing?” Sixth College junior Michael Toillion asked

                       Noncommittal, Chum simply turned away.

                       “Oh, pleading the Fifth [Amendment],” Toillion said, referring to the right of
                       criminal suspects to refrain from self-incrimination. “God forbid you’d plead
                       the First.”

                       After Watts’ crew refused to stop taping the confrontation, Murphy and
                       Chum walked away.

                       “Maurice told us that if anything goes awry, to take the necessary action,”
                       Murphy said on his way from SRTV to his office.

                       Tess said later that evening that he saw no problems with Watts’ show.

                       “It was not something that was produced by Steve York,” the station
                       co-manager said. “I do not see any violation of the bill.”

                       Tess also said he thought the producers were correct to keep Murphy and
                       Chum out, explaining that station policy placed responsibility on the SRTV
                       member whose door code was last used to enter the facilities.

                       Watts’ crewmembers, who last used the code, said they were afraid to let
                       Murphy in, pointing to a recent physical assault that took place on station
                       premises by a drunken viewer.

                       “I think it was very appropriate to not let [Murphy] in,” Tess said.

                       Later, Junious said he had specifically not given Murphy and Chum a door
                       code because the two were not trained in the safety procedures necessary to
                       be in the studio unsupervised.

                       “Regardless of what’s going on with A.S., there are still rules that SRTV has
                       and I wanted to respect them,” he said.

                       Junious said that his e-mail asking for only prerecorded shows to be aired
                       was also not absolute, and was more a suggestion to station management.

                       Exile to Warren

                       By 11 p.m., Watts and his crew had relocated to Warren College Television,
                       where his “Perfect Vision” was scheduled to air. The move was a poignant
                       one: Less than two years earlier, Warren administrators shut down WCT
                       after Watts aired a video depicting the beheading of an American contractor
                       in Iraq. On Nov. 3, Watts was using the station to air content banned from

                       At the end of the show, York also made a live guest appearance to answer

                       Murphy said the decision to turn off the SRTV signal was justified because
                       Watts’ staff included people who helped air “Koala TV,” people that he said
                       were specifically banned by last week’s legislation. In particular, he singled
                       out Sixth College sophomore Brian Holt, who had his own SRTV show
                       scheduled to begin at 11 p.m.

                       Holt said he admitted to speaking out during the public comment period at a
                       recent A.S. Council meeting in support of York, but denied that he had
                       worked on York’s porn.

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UCSD Guardian Online                                                      

                       “If the resolution had said me, I would have happily complied,” Holt said.

                       But another person present during Watts’ show — a third-year graduate
                       student who asked to not be identified for fear that he, as a university
                       employee, could face retaliation — said he had helped York co-produce
                       several of his shows. However, he said that the A.S. Council’s ban on
                       “Koala TV” only proved that councilmembers misunderstood how SRTV

                       “I’m just an engineer, I do a lot of shows,” he said. “Everyone helps
                       everyone else at the station. … The problem is, that’s the way SRTV

                       Crossed Wires

                       At midnight, Warren sophomore Elle Maglonzo had arrived at SRTV for the
                       start of her own show, only to find the station deserted and dark.

                       “I think it’s assy — it sucks,” she said several minutes later. “I woke up to
                       do my show and I’m here 20 minutes after it was supposed to begin. And I
                       could be asleep.”

                       Junious arrived shortly after 1 a.m., and was soon engaged in an hour-long,
                       and at times confrontational, phone conversation with Tess.

                       By 2 a.m., Maglonzo had gone home, with her show unaired and the station
                       still off the air.

                       The next afternoon, SRTV was again broadcasting, showing recorded reruns.
                       At approximately 3 p.m., the shows were replaced with a black screen
                       reading: “The Associated Students (A.S.) is now censoring content on

                       But by the end of day, the station was again off the air.

                       “I don’t know the specifics of what happened,” SRTV co-Manager Tiffany
                       Rapp said, explaining that she believed the station would be off air at least
                       until Nov. 9, the date of the next scheduled meeting of the A.S. Council.

                       A note posted on SRTV’s window on Nov. 5 stated that the A.S. Council
                       suspended the service until further notice.

                       Watts said Junious decided to keep the station off because councilmembers
                       lacked the resources to monitor the broadcasts in person and
                       round-the-clock. Junious did not return subsequent calls seeking comment.

                       Donald R. McLaughlin, an Administrative Computing and
                       Telecommunications director whose department oversees Triton Cable, also
                       did not respond to messages for comment.

                       However, slumped in a chair in the station at approximately 3 a.m. on Nov.
                       4, Junious spoke freely and with regret about the controversy, blaming
                       poorly written SRTV governing documents for the mess.

                       “We’re faced with a charter that isn’t that great, and that has created
                       problems for me, Andy [Tess] and Tiffany [Rapp],” he said.

                       The emergency content regulations approved by the A.S. Council were
                       necessary until a new charter could be written, according to Junious.

                       “I guess when it comes down to it, SRTV is an A.S. service and part of the
                       university and subject to rules,” he said. “If the university wants to pull the

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UCSD Guardian Online                                                            

                       plug on SRTV, it’s within their legal rights.”

                       Readers can contact Vladimir Kogan at

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