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[P]
KTRU shut down by Rice University administration

By ramses0 in News
Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 03:44:58 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

On behalf of jenfrazer.

"At 8 a.m. on Thursday, Nov. 30, Rice administrators walked in to the KTRU broadcasting booth and took control of the station, ejecting the DJ, changing the locks and destroying the student artwork on the door. Vice President for Student Affairs Zenaido Camacho says the station will be "reorganized" according to university demands.

"For more information on this outrage, please read the extra editions of the student newspaper, The Rice Thresher, on their website: http://www.ricethresher.org/"


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comments (24)
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I was talking with a former DJ for TWU's radio station when KTRU's struggle came up. I found that JenFrazer's comment had just been posted, and wanted to bring this topic up again.

I for one would like a little more information. It's always very annoying when free expression is stifled in college, even if it is university funded.

In my opinion, too many people want to block out all parts of the world they don't want to see, so they can forget it exists. I wasn't able to pick up KTRU when I was visiting my grandparents in Houston (and am kindof sad, because I actually tried while I was driving). I don't know what the difference is between KTRU's programming and what others in the university wanted.

However, it is my opinion that universities (and people, too!) should sponser honest criticism of themselves, and if that means that a "university resource is under-utilized", so be it. At least it's being used honestly, and not for "maximal corporate profit."

Perhaps it's an idealistic viewpoint, but people with authority should try to do the Right Thing(tm) a little more often, and not just the Good Enough Thing(tm) which is infinitely easier to justify.

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Poll
Honest criticism?
o I welcome honest criticism. 39%
o ...but only on a good day. 21%
o I beat people up who criticize me. 5%
o People who criticize should just mind their own business. 0%
o *argh* my brain! Moral dilemmas are bad. 11%
o I am a perfect being, evolved beyond criticsm. 21%

Votes: 128
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o jenfrazer
o http://www .ricethresher.org/
o TWU's
o Also by ramses0


Display: Sort:
KTRU shut down by Rice University administration | 57 comments (51 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
Don't US university students know how to protest? (4.00 / 11) (#1)
by goonie on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 10:58:07 PM EST

I don't know anything about what kind of students Rice University attracts, but it seems like "Rabble Rousing 101: fundamentals of student protest." isn't a commonly-taken subject there.

All jokes aside, even if the university was technically within its rights to use their radio station to broadcast football games, it seems to be morally wrong to do so, and the students affected have got a real point. Therefore, it's time to make some noise and "encourage" the powers-that-be at the university to change their minds.

If there's individuals from Rice who feel this way, they should think carefully about:

  • What do we want to achieve?
  • Who is committed to achieving these goals at the present time?
  • What resources (in the broadest sense) do we have
Answers to the above questions should guide you in figuring the key question "What do we do now?". Good luck!

As always, if anybody wants to contact me about this feel more than free. I have considerable experience in this kind of residential-college politics, after living in one for several years and assisting in the "retirement" of the head (the appointed academic who ran the place, not the student president).

Students now in a bad position (3.00 / 4) (#16)
by squigly on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 04:52:06 AM EST

What do we want to achieve?

The opposite of what just happened

Who is committed to achieving these goals at the present time

Nobody important

What resources (in the broadest sense) do we have

A wheelbarrow and an apocolypse cloak.

The problem here is that they lost their most useful tool already. They could have made a lot more noise, but they didn't. Why not?

--
People who sig other people have nothing intelligent to say for themselves - anonimouse
[ Parent ]
Don't be glib (4.00 / 2) (#20)
by goonie on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 06:56:37 AM EST

Or, to be a blunter, don't be such a smartarse.
What do we want to achieve?
The opposite of what just happened.

Is restoration of the status quo achievable (probably not)? Is the status quo desirable (from looking into the situation a bit further, probably not either)? What's the desirable end result? What's the best achievable outcome possible?

Who is committed to achieving these goals at the present time?
Nobody important.

Wrong. There are some very important people who are pissed off about the events. A significant fraction of the university's students (and, if we're going to be all lassiez-faire capitalist, customers) are. The student newspaper is, with some reservations. There seems to be members of the faculty who aren't happy. There may well be prominent alumni who aren't happy. That's starting to look like a fairly impressive list of people who are in a position to make an administration's like difficult.

What resources (in the broadest sense) do we have?
A wheelbarrow and an apocolypse cloak.
Remember what a mostly-dead Westley, Inigo, and Fezzik did with those items. More seriously, the questions of "resources" go to how committed the people who share your cause are, how to provide the things needed to run protest campaigns (little things like photocopies, PA equipment etc. etc.), what contacts with people like local media and the like exist.
The problem here is that they lost their most useful tool already. They could have made a lot more noise, but they didn't. Why not?
Excellent question. While only the people involved can really say, I suspect there's a lack of political savvy on the part of the radio station management. Perhaps when this thing is all over an editorial on k5 from somebody involved discussing the entire incident would be highly enlightening (if unlikely to happen, as people tend not to enjoy having coals raked over).

[ Parent ]
Is it too late (3.25 / 4) (#25)
by squigly on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 09:30:42 AM EST

Or, to be a blunter, don't be such a smartarse?
I was just being overly terse

What do we want to achieve?
The opposite of what just happened.

Is restoration of the status quo achievable (probably not)? Is the status quo desirable (from looking into the situation a bit further, probably not either)? What's the desirable end result? What's the best achievable outcome possible?

What they really want is for the University to say that the aggressive actions they took were wrong, and to reverse their actions. Before they let them take over, they would have just had to change their minds and announce that they feel it wouldn't be in the interests of the students. What the students really want is their own medium for communication that people are going to listen to. What the University wants is to make money or gain publicity from their assets. These should not neccesarily be contradictory. Unfortunatly there's no reason for the university to want to give these students freedom at most thy'll be neutral about it.
There are some very important people who are pissed off about the events. A significant fraction of the university's students (and, if we're going to be all lassiez-faire capitalist, customers) are. The student newspaper is, with some reservations. There seems to be members of the faculty who aren't happy. There may well be prominent alumni who aren't happy. That's starting to look like a fairly impressive list of people who are in a position to make an administration's like difficult
But nobody who the powers that be want to listen to. Actually the students did a thouroghly useless job at promoting their cause and rallying support. Admittedly motivating students isn't the easiest of tasks either.
More seriously, the questions of "resources" go to how committed the people who share your cause are, how to provide the things needed to run protest campaigns (little things like photocopies, PA equipment etc. etc.), what contacts with people like local media and the like exist.
Thats true. Actually it seems odd that so many people just stood by and let this happen. There doesn't seem to be any reason for this. It makes me lose a little sympathy for those involved.

Another thing that concerns me is the heavy handed attitude of the administration. There was no need to shut down the station apart from as a punishment.

--
People who sig other people have nothing intelligent to say for themselves - anonimouse
[ Parent ]
Why is it wrong? (4.00 / 5) (#27)
by /dev/niall on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 09:51:08 AM EST

All jokes aside, even if the university was technically within its rights to use their radio station to broadcast football games, it seems to be morally wrong to do so, and the students affected have got a real point. Therefore, it's time to make some noise and "encourage" the powers-that-be at the university to change their minds.

Why is it wrong to broadcast football games? Granted, it strikes me as exciting as listening to a symphony thru a tin can, but why?

Because the people who ran the radio station don't care for sports? Because the people who run the newspaper don't like sports? I'm willing to bet there's a substantial portion of the student body who do want to hear sports on their radio station. So now the people who make the most noise get what they want? (okay, so that IS reality -- doesn't make it fair)

In my opinion, this is more valuable to the student body. Hopefully this will prepare them for real life, where you don't always get things the way you want, and you have three sports channels on cable for every channel with educational content.


--
"compared to the other apes, my genitals are gigantic" -- TheophileEscargot
[ Parent ]

nothing wrong with football games (1.00 / 1) (#34)
by AtomZombie on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 02:58:01 PM EST

there is nothing wrong with broadcasting school football games, but there is something wrong with shutting down all other forms of expression. i DJed at my school my freshman year and sometimes shows were interupted for live games, but not always. the students could still hear a wide variety of music and other shows. this makes everyone happy. there are not many people in the world who want to hear football and nothing else. college radio should be as well rounded as a good college education, and should reflect all aspects of the student body.


atomic.

"why did they have to call it UNIX. that's kind of... ewww." -mom.
[ Parent ]
An answer to your question (2.50 / 2) (#31)
by el_guapo on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 12:32:20 PM EST

"I don't know anything about what kind of students Rice University attracts" - I have a friend that went there, and I live in Houston, so I sort of know. In case you didn't know, Rice is a private University and has a darn good rep. They tend to attract well off folk who are pretty straight laced IMNSHO. God knows my friend that went there is your industry standard Fairly Well Off WASP...
mas cerveza, por favor mirrors, manifestos, etc.
[ Parent ]
More information on KTRU (4.00 / 10) (#2)
by gregstoll on Sun Dec 03, 2000 at 11:00:07 PM EST

For more information on the KTRU situation here, check out http://www.savektru.org, it's got a lot of news stuff about it, and more information about the situation.

A rule of life (2.50 / 6) (#4)
by maketo on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 12:32:49 AM EST

If you have it -> you will stand up to the oppression or injustice, no matter the face or power it has. This goes for everyone, everywhere. If you do not have it -> you will watch them step on you and you will be a coward. Saying "I dont care, <x> does not matter that much to me" in the face of injustice is a sign of a moral decay of a person capable of closing their eyes when confronted with unjust use of power. After all, where do you draw the line of "I dont care"?
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
Not practical ... (4.00 / 1) (#21)
by StrontiumDog on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 07:13:36 AM EST

.. there are so many "injustices" that you have to prioritize. For some, shutting down a student radio station is a staggering example of injustice. For others it's the price the local garage charges for fixing a radiator belt. There are more. Taxes, poverty, racial or sexual discrimination, feminazis, globalisation, isolationism, environmental damage, tree-hugging eco-nazis, gun control, lack thereof, organized religion, asocial atheists ... there are simply too many things to get worked up about.

Saying "I dont care, <x> does not matter that much to me" in the face of injustice is a sign of a moral decay of a person capable of closing their eyes when confronted with unjust use of power.

Sorry, this is empty rhetoric. Everyone has their own definition of injustice. How serious a particular unjust episode is, is subjective. Some time ago I stood with two pals outside a disco; the bouncer refused entry to us because the place was "full"; minutes later he allowed two pretty and scantily dressed girls to enter. Was that unfair? Hell yes. Do you care? I hope not - if you do, get a life and learn to prioritize.

Some episodes of injustice have local ramifications; others are more widely relevant. Student radio is one of these things that have limited appeal. I'm guessing here, but I think that most k5ers are, were or will soon be students, which is why such a story gets prominent coverage here. But there's a difference between petty bureaucracy, and deep systematic injustice. Little tyrants will always be there: your schoolmistress, the college dean, your boss, your spouse, the head nurse at the old folks home. That's human nature.

[ Parent ]

People care about what affects them (none / 0) (#40)
by goonie on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 05:53:14 PM EST

But there's a difference between petty bureaucracy, and deep systematic injustice.

In the greater scheme of things, you're absolutely right - a bunch of (by world standards) incredibly privileged students who have to set up their own online radio station instead of using the university's transmitter is not the world's greatest injustice. However, people who can take that kind of global perspective intellectually are rare - people who can take that perspective emotionally are even rarer. In my view, therefore, it's inevitable that these students are going to be angry and want to do something.

Anyway, in my view it generally does college students good to be involved in at least one protest or political action where they attempt to change the decision of some established authority, even if the issue is not life-or-death. Firstly, you learn that people in authority are neither omniscient or all-powerful. You learn that the sky won't fall if you oppose that authority. You also learn how far you can/want to take that opposition, generally without the consequences being too disasterous if you overstep the boundaries. You can learn how to lead, how to negotiate, the vagaries of compromise, the balance of pragmatism versus idealism, the necessity of the occasional bit of expediency, the difficulty of motivating and holding together a coalition. To me, that's an excellent set of skills for future community leaders.

I know that I learned a lot about power, politics, and human nature when I was involved in a little bit of pest control in my time at university. If the time ever comes where something similar needs to be done, I'm sure I'll be able to handle it much more effectively through the experience.

[ Parent ]

-1 For subjectivity about inane events (2.40 / 15) (#8)
by jfb3 on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 01:23:22 AM EST

No one is being censored at Rice. The "artwork" on the front door was apparently stickers (as read on www.savektru.org). The university made a decision that the students don't like. Get over it.

The university owns the station, the music, the equipment, the license, the ... You get my drift here.

If your parents decided that you weren't allowed to drive their car, even though they used to let you, would you claim an affront to free speech, no.

I'd like to welcome Rice University and their student body to the real world. If the students don't like the actions of the university the students should feel free to start their own radio station. Maybe they should investigate the low power fm rules at the FCC.
Low Power FM Radio Service

a comment on the sticker artwork (3.60 / 5) (#9)
by gregstoll on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 01:31:04 AM EST

While it's true that the stickers were artwork, that in itself is incomplete. A pretty common thing to do here is to take a KTRU bumper sticker or two, cut them up, and make words/phrases/whatever you want. The door was mostly covered with those, so it wasn't like someone just slapped a bunch of bumper stickers on the door and called it art.

It's also true that the administration can do whatever the hell they want, but the point here is that they had a tacit agreement with the KTRU people that they then proceeded to break, and I don't mean just the shutdown (read more on www.savektru.org in the News section for past events regarding KTRU), and also the administration pretends to care about the students, and make a big deal out of this.

Obviously, I'm biased too (I go to Rice, in case it isn't clear :-P), but I think there's more going on here than one might get the impression just reading the article.

[ Parent ]

re: a comment on the sticker artwork. (2.66 / 3) (#17)
by jfb3 on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 06:19:01 AM EST

Yeah, I know about the sticker thing. I just didn't want the world to think that there were major oil paintings that took years to complete or four foot tall marble statues glued to the door that were cut to shreds or hammered to bits.

If you said that the University was pressuring student DJs to tout specific political ideology, I'd be more than willing to vote this to the front page. (That would seem an abuse of supervisory control. {maybe}) But not this.

Haven't you ever heard that tacit agreements are worth the paper they're written on? :)

BTW, while I don't go to Rice, I have listened to KTRU for the past 7 or so years. (Especially at times like tonight when I'm working all night on a new version release.)

[ Parent ]

-1 for crying "Wolf" (1.71 / 14) (#10)
by Sheepdot on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 01:40:57 AM EST

Please don't cry "Censorship" if the product is owned by a University. Cry "Don't give my tax money to Universities that censor things I don't want them to censor!"

Or just don't cry at all and grow up. :)

Seriously though, I'm of the opinion that if the Government or some directly funded government institution attempts censorship, we should all lash out against it. But when something that is partially funded by the government does censorship, I usually just request that the government quit funding them so that "public opinion" can be heard about whether or not the censorship was justifiable.

The damn utilitarians have screwed up the world so much it really doesn't matter what way you swing, you always end up the bad guy.


Legal vs. moral right (3.33 / 6) (#11)
by goonie on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 02:07:52 AM EST

I don't think anybody's seriously arguing that the university doesn't have the *legal* right to do this (possibly they may have breached a contract, I don't really know), but the question is whether it's *morally* right to do so. It's perfectly legitimate to protest a decision on moral grounds.

And by the way, claims of "censorship" are perfectly reasonable to raise in this case. Universities are supposed to promote the free dissemination of information, thought, and opinon. If a university didn't care about that there's no way I'd go there.

[ Parent ]

Moral right is... (2.00 / 6) (#12)
by Sheepdot on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 02:27:35 AM EST

The University wanted to do it. So they did. Do they have a moral obligation to listen to what the students have to say? No, the equipment was theirs. There is nothing moral about it. Nobody's rights have been violated, no "censorship" has been done.

And if you care so much about a University valuing your right to freedom of speech, then make your decision that way. I'll continue to make mine on account of price, location, and ease of use. Just like I make decisions on where I go to shop.


[ Parent ]
What did you go to university for at all? (3.50 / 6) (#15)
by goonie on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 03:19:10 AM EST

I'll continue to make mine on account of price, location, and ease of use. Just like I make decisions on where I go to shop.

Is that all you view education as? The same as purchasing a bar of soap? Call me a hopeless romantic, but I always thought of education as the opportunity to broaden the mind, and universities as places to facilitate that. For people who don't want that, well, there's always those MSCE cram-schools . . .

[ Parent ]

Sticking by your promises... (3.00 / 4) (#18)
by B'Trey on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 06:27:28 AM EST

Did you read the earlier story on this? The administration promised the student body a few years ago that they would not take control of the radio station. Now, they step in and take control. In my book, that's a lie and that's morally wrong. Your morals may vary, however.

[ Parent ]
I thought... (3.66 / 3) (#22)
by tzanger on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 07:21:51 AM EST

The University wanted to do it. So they did. Do they have a moral obligation to listen to what the students have to say? No, the equipment was theirs. There is nothing moral about it. Nobody's rights have been violated, no "censorship" has been done.

I thought the only reason the university even got that 50kW (IIRC) transmitter is because of the students and what they had done with the older, much smaller transmitter! The whole "you can play with it, we don't care" turned into "wow thanks for all your hard work, we'll just take the prize now."

That, while possibly legal, is a terrible and shitty thing to do to anyone, anywhere, and I fully support the students on this. Someone in the administration should get a foot up their arse for this.



[ Parent ]
You're missing the point. (none / 0) (#38)
by Zack on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 04:04:47 PM EST

The point here is KTRU started as a student organization. The money used to fund the station is part of a blanket tax on the students. WE are the ones paying for it. Rice holds the FCC license, and that's it. They didn't build transmitters or buy the equipment. They are taking something that was built up by students.

Not only that, but they also timed it so the article could not be published in that weeks newspaper as an effort to stifle student discussion about it.

In short, the Administration of Rice University has decided that they should be able to take whatever they want from the students. We're mostly troubled by the actions taken to stifle student voice. The forceable closing and locking of the station, the de facto firing of the staff, and a forced reorganization.

The university is in a very bad spot now. They've commited trangressions against student rights and finally have made enough people angry that something will have to be done about it.

That was my rant.

[ Parent ]
On KTRU and these kind of radios.. (3.00 / 10) (#19)
by elpapacito on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 06:47:17 AM EST

It is obvious that, if the Univ. owns the licence and maybe also the equipement needed to run the station, the students are not going to win by claiming that the station was "morally" theirs; the Univ paid $$ for that licence and equipement. End of story.

What you got is not a battle for free speech ; you've a right to say whatever you want, but not a right to have FREE equipement to broadcast your speech. If there students really love the quality/content of their station so much , they can toss in some extra $$ for starting and mantaining a little station. You can DO that at the "indirect" expenses of university too, by

1) asking alumni to donate for this project instead of donating to university
2) diverting money from other entertainment expenses like sports, beers, cinemas.

and these are only two examples, there are many more possible ways.


Students must learn that they can't cry wolf in a world in which money is even more important then life, but they must learn to win the system with its own methods.

Any company/university/profit or no profit organization is REALLY afraid of a couple hundred angry and self-organized students (let me put the emphasis on ORGANIZED)
but chances are these guys aren't going to fight for the radio for long, unless of course they really value it immensely.


Funding for this station (2.75 / 4) (#24)
by theboz on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 09:17:20 AM EST

It is obvious that, if the Univ. owns the licence and maybe also the equipement needed to run the station, the students are not going to win by claiming that the station was "morally" theirs; the Univ paid $$ for that licence and equipement. End of story.

That is correct, however, the purpose of the school is to educate the students, and serve them. So, in this case, the students should have a say about what is on the station. If the majority wants sports, so be it. I think that is the only fair thing to do in this case. Also, if the school continues to do such things and treat the students like kindergarteners rather than young adults, then I'd take my money (or parents'/scholarship money) elsewhere. I do agree with what you suggest though. You can only get your way with such a greedy operation as a college by hurting it in the pockets.

Stuff.
[ Parent ]

Won't work. (none / 0) (#33)
by Parity on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 02:48:09 PM EST

The radio frequency bandwidth is used up, there's no more available... not even on the AM bands; (well, this may not be true in some extremely rural areas, but it is most places.) I doubt that an unfunded group of students can, from scratch, come up with the millions of dollars needed to purchase a frequency from a commercial radio station (and then they'd have to convince the FCC to re-assign the frequency as non-commercial, which I've never heard of being done so I don't know how hard it is.)

The equipment is next to meaningless; for a few K (which the students -could- get from alumni or whatever) they could set up a 5 watt station to play with, -if- they had the frequency.

Parity None


[ Parent ]
you just made me laugh (1.83 / 6) (#23)
by maketo on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 09:04:07 AM EST

How petty with the "prioritization" of injustices. And how nice of an excuse.
agents, bugs, nanites....see the connection?
Sad day for those students (3.28 / 7) (#26)
by craigm on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 09:34:50 AM EST

I know how hard people work to keep a radio station going on campus. I used to DJ at our campus, and found the experience to be one-of-a-lifetime. I'd urge the students to take their cause before any ears that will hear. The school is well within their rights to turn the station into what they want, but the students are ultimately the ones who pay for part of the station with their tuition and their alumni contributions.

Reply (2.00 / 8) (#28)
by end0parasite on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 10:12:00 AM EST

The University has a right to do what it did. Put yourself in their shoes. Say you have all this equipment and everything and you let some people use it to broadcast a radio station. Are you going to just give it to them? Let me put it another way. Do you consider the equipment yours or theirs?

On the other hand, those students' tuition helped pay for the equipment.

University equipment != University control (4.33 / 3) (#32)
by ramses0 on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 01:09:58 PM EST

Just because the university owns the equipment, and pays the staff of a media outlet, does not mean that the university can control what is reported on by that media outlet.

I used to work for a College Newspaper. I wrote stories. We had "issues" where we reported on stuff that our university would rather not be published.

Before people complain about KTRU 'crying wolf', take a look at this chart.

It is commonly called the "Student Press Law", and it determines "The First Amendment Rights of Public High School Student Journalists After Hazelwood School District v. Kuhlmeier."

This diagram describes how a court would determine if a particular act of censorship by school officials is legally permissible. It refers specifically to High School student Journalists, but it is commonly applied to college print media. I don't feel it is that much of a stretch to apply it to university funded college radio stations as well.

To lead some very uninformed people through the chart (open the link, and put your finger at the top ;^)=...

  1. Yes, the university sponsored the radio station.
  2. Maybe. It doesn't sound like the DJ's are receiving classroom training, so let's just go to the next question.
  3. Yes, the students have had the practice of making content decisions.
  4. Look at the Tinker standard. You could pay 2 lawers to sit around and argue for a loooong time to find out: "Can school officials show that their censorship is based on a reasonable forecast of material and substantial disruption of school activities or an invasion of the rights of others."

    My argument would be:

    • KTRU had XX years without sports broadcasts, so you can't argue "substantial disruption of student activities." (and anyway, the radio station was willing to compromise and broadcast sports materials anyway)
    • The 'reasonable forecast of material' would be everything that the station has broadcast over the past 20 years. This did not include sports activities, and doesn't sound like it was worth censoring, if I've paid enough attention.
    • There is/was no 'invasion of the rights of others'. The only possible argument is that women's basketball had their "right to be broadcast on a big freakin' transmitter" violated, but I don't think that's a good excuse.

    When writing about this story, I didn't call it censorship, I called it "Stifling free expression". Meaning that I recognize there are a lot of other venues for these radio station DJ's to express themselves. There are also a lot of other venues for the university to broadcast sporting events. Consider internet broadcast, or Low Power FM, since exactly 0% of anybody outside of Rice wants to listen to Rice Women's basketball.

    Now that I've done more research into this, I am beginning to see Rice University's actions as an act of censorship. There is a legitimate argument, and legitimate complaints here.

    --Robert
    [ rate all comments , for great justice | sell.com ]
    [ Parent ]

*Public* being the important point (none / 0) (#44)
by goonie on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 10:45:30 PM EST

This chart applies to *public* high school students. Rice is a *private* college. This chart, valid guidelines they may be for all educational institutions, have no legal importantce to the Rice situation.

[ Parent ]
Not University Owned (none / 0) (#41)
by Zack on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 08:27:59 PM EST

The only things the university owns are the FCC license and the building the equipment is in.

That's it. Everything else has been made by the students. Why should we let THEM come in and take everything from us? And no, we shouldn't just give it to.


[ Parent ]
You are wrong (none / 0) (#43)
by one61803 on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 10:17:38 PM EST

> The only things the university owns are the FCC license
> and the building the equipment is in.

Exactly. This means that you don't have the legal or moral right to claim that you should be allowed to use the equipment and certainly not that you "own" the equipment.

Now if the students at Rice had their own transmitting gear, the story would be different.

[ Parent ]
The question is unanswerable (none / 0) (#53)
by terran on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 02:40:52 PM EST

"Do you consider the equipment yours or theirs?"

As soon as you get to the point where this question can be meaningfully asked, you have problems. The governing or administrative body of an organization should not be a separate entity with goals and objectives independent of the organization it is governing or administering. As a result of greed and corruption on the part of the people who perform the governing and administration, this evolution into the governing body as a separate entity with independent goals from what it is governing is almost inevitable. It doesn't start out that way, however, and the preponderance of situations which have evolved to this state (every national government in the world of which I am aware) does not make it correct, admirable, or useful.

[ Parent ]
Umm, more info? (3.33 / 12) (#29)
by ultrasoul on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 10:41:26 AM EST

From the front page of the Rice Thresher was this story which clearly shows that the students violated the university radio station policy by playing music and broadcasting the women's basketball game simultaneously. The girl responsible for the act said she was not acting on behalf of KTRU that night and, "I feel like [the administration] should have punished me individually if they had wanted to take any kind of action. I thought they would be mature enough to t do that, since my actions were not representative of KTRU at all." Well sorry, your actions were representative of KTRU, and this is what happens.

There is censorship, and then there is braking the rules. -1 Crybaby.

ktru (5.00 / 1) (#39)
by Delirium on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 05:07:19 PM EST

The girl responsible for the act said she was not acting on behalf of KTRU that night

Now that just seems absurd to me. How can you be broadcasting on the station yet claim that it's an individual action unaffiliated with the station? It's not anyone's personal station, so anything broadcast over it is the responsibility of the people who run it.

I generally support the students rather than the administration in this one, but that comment just seemed ridiculous to me.

[ Parent ]

Free Speech (2.55 / 9) (#30)
by malikcoates on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 12:22:25 PM EST

I'm all for free speech, but this really doesn't sound like a free speech issue at all. The whole problem here is that the university owns the station. You're not asking so much for free speech, as speech paid for by the university.

The real problem here is that the FCC controls radio licenses and has made them worth so much money that of course the university looks at the station and can find better things to do than broadcast than what's on it now.

The only real way to solve this kind of problem is to make this corporate resource worth less money, by moving more radio onto the net, by removing the FCC from the equation, by letting anyone who wants to set up broadcasting stations.

University didn't "pay for" the station (3.66 / 3) (#35)
by MoxFulder on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 03:14:47 PM EST

As the original article explains, the university did not really pay for this radio station. They may have paid small amounts of money to buy a transmitter and get a license, but the students were the ones who created the value of the station by putting countless hours of hard work and creativity into it. The primary value of a radio station is of course not derived from the physical equipment but from the loyal audience which it has built up and the quality of its programming.

Rice university basically invested a small amount of money in an enterprise (whose employees were paying the university for the privilege of working there!). This enterprise, the radio station, has performed extremely well, and now the administration has decided to overthrow the management that brought it its success. Hopefully the radio station will languish under its new ill-gotten management, and the administration will come begging to the students to take it back over.

"If good things lasted forever, would we realize how special they are?"
--Calvin and Hobbes


[ Parent ]
Here's What the Students Should Do (4.50 / 2) (#37)
by Matrix on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 04:01:29 PM EST

Start up broadcasting a streaming Internet radio station. Pay for the bandwidth and server themselves, so the University has no claim at all over it. Keep on broadcasting the same content as before, and widely post advertisments about the station's new location. If and when the administration comes and asks them to resume their former duties, tell the administration where to put said duties. Broadcast a series of stories about the hypocracy and general mismanagement of the administration.

Worked for my school newspaper last year after the administration decided they wanted a load of editorical control...


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

An unfortunate, but predictable result (4.33 / 9) (#36)
by iggy99 on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 03:46:16 PM EST

of a sequence of ill-advised actions on the part of the students i'm afraid. I'm sure these folks had the best intent, but the protest effort they engaged in (and has been encouraged by some posts here) was obviously a mistake. Stations such as these exist at the pleasure of the license holders; the trustees of the university usually. It is fatal to forget/ignore that for long. I was P.D. for 3 years in the early 80's at an eclectic college radio station that has survived for a long time now (I'm proud to say). There are a couple of things that you MUST do to keep these things going. 1) (Appear to) Exert strong control over your airproduct. Infinity Broadcasting may be willing to pay Howard Stern's FCC fines, but the University is not prepared to pay yours. As the license holders, they have liability in this area and will yank control if too worried about what's broadcast. A statement like "what should I do fire them?" indicates a big problem in this area. As far as they're concerned, whoever's in charge there has got to do something about it. That coulda been the last straw; not what was broadcast, but rather how it was dealt with after the fact. 2) Don't give the University bad publicity. They really hate that. Making Deans, Presidents etc. out to be the bad guys in public is not a good idea. I'd be interested to hear from anybody who knows of an example where this approach has been effective. 3) Use institutional inertia. Universities don't exactly change things all that fast without provocation. Normally you can wait this sort of stuff out (very politely and respectfully) until something more important than women's basketball broadcasts occupies their attention. It's really too bad these guys got the plug pulled but they did make a bad situation worse. Hopefully they can work things out for both themselves, and the Rice students who would have followed in their footsteps

I bet Rice wants to commercialize the station (none / 0) (#46)
by maynard on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 09:12:12 AM EST

I doubt the student protesting incited the University takeover, it appears as though the University decided to take the station some time back and finally completed this in a fait accompli, protesting or no.

This is really bad. As a 32 YO professional, I'm not personally involved with college radio. However, I DO listen to college radio simply because there's nothing on the commercial dial I'm interested in listening to. Around here in Boston we have about three or four really good college stations, my favorite being WZBC (Boston College Radio). I don't know what I'd do if the University simply up and shut them down, there's nobody (except on the net) who's willing to play the stuff they broadcast; noise collage and other experimental stuff.

This reminds me of the National Association of Broadcasters colluding with Nation Public Radio to squelch micro radio broadcasts (see Radio Citizen) by legislative means after the FCC decided to offer low power licenses to the general public. I know for a fact that college radio draws a significant audience from the commercial stations here in the Boston area, and I know that they've complained about this before. I wonder if Rice's station was gaining too large an audience share in that market? I suspect that by "reorganized" they mean folding the station into the National Public Radio network for news and possibly some light classical/jazz on the side; which is fine music. But I happen to like experimental stuff and I doubt any of that would be played without strong student management of the playlist.

What a shame.

J. Maynard Gelinas

Read The Proxies, a short crime thriller.
[ Parent ]

FCC?? (none / 0) (#56)
by sety on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 11:10:01 PM EST

Can someone please give me some info on what you have to do to keep an FCC license? Are there things you can't do on air? In college I was a DJ for a small campus station and all we had to do was play 30% (or something) Canadian music and keep a record of this. (stupid rule)

In Canada I believe that staions self censor themselves. The commercal alterno radio station here (www.101xfm.ca) seems to always play the non-censored version of a song, whereas in more conservative Toronto The Edge (www.edge102.com) seems to play censored versions of at least some of there songs.

So does the FCC get pissed off by the DJ's saying naughty words, or the musicians saying naughty words, or both?

[ Parent ]

Canada? FCC? Huh? (none / 0) (#57)
by chewie on Wed Dec 13, 2000 at 01:35:47 AM EST

I thought the FCC was a US-exclusive beast. What type of jurisdiction does the FCC have in Canada, or does Canada have their own incarnation of this deamon?
assert(expired(knowledge)); /* core dump */
[ Parent ]
How to fight back. (3.00 / 2) (#42)
by alt on Mon Dec 04, 2000 at 10:06:58 PM EST

While not usually one to get involved, it seems to me that an equally powerful carrier on the same frequency would shut down the station.

Seriously though, I would suggest as a protest that all students stop listening to KTRU. Let current and potential advertisers know that noone is listening. Let the faculty know that noone is listening.

If the almighty dollar is the prime motivator here, then it's time to change the direction of flow.

(Note: I am not a student of Rice, nor have I ever been there.)


No advertising on KTRU (none / 0) (#45)
by gregstoll on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 12:19:23 AM EST

Not a bad idea, but as the FCC license is educational, no advertising is allowed on KTRU, I believe, or at least they've never had any.

[ Parent ]
Ownership not cut and dry... (4.00 / 3) (#47)
by finkployd on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 10:41:28 AM EST

It seems alot of people are claiming that since the equipment is university owned it should have totalitarian control over it and it's use. This would be true if we were talking about a corporation, but this is a UNIVERSITY. The school bought the equipment right? Where did the get the money to do that? Remember a student and paying (say it with me now)...."tuition"? Arguably, the equipment belongs to the university community, students, faculty and staff. Yes, the administration has the legal right to go in and shut it down if it doesn't do what their sports director whined and begged for, but morally, and in the eyes of the students (you know, where the money is coming from) they screwed up. When the students no longer trust or respect the administration, the administration is f*cked. They can't just fire the students and hire new ones like a corporation can. They need students, and they just made a huge mistake.

Finkployd
(once a student government president of a PSU campus, I've seen this before. It's not pretty)
Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
tuition doesn't pay the bills (none / 0) (#48)
by dhuff on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 11:47:31 AM EST

I'm afraid that the idea of tuition being a University's main source of income is a misconception widely held by most people (esp. undergraduates).

The fact of the matter is that most of their budget comes from research grant money. The vast majority of research grants include up to a 40% "add-on" which goes right into the University's general fund. Ever wonder why there's so much pressure on faculty to engage in reasearch as a measure of eligibility for tenure (often to the exclusion of time spent on giving students quality instruction) ? That's why...

The truth is that students really don't matter in most Universities nearly as much as the pursuit of big bucks from Federal grant money. This is the main reason I became so disgusted with the idea of a life in academics and dropped out of grad school for a career in business (well, OK, the decent salary I make now helps as well ;)

[ Parent ]

Uhm interesting..! (none / 0) (#50)
by elpapacito on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 12:02:53 PM EST

Ok I'll assume you're right because it seems easier to outsmart Federal Government then a bunch of students :D but students are needed for reasearch projects too, right ? Because they're people who are paying to be instructed while they work on projects that

1) will be "sold" by university to companies or that
2) will be used as "outstanding achievements" to attract
more funds

Am I right or wrong ?

So students are NEEDED badly for reasearch projects, aren't they ? A pissed student probably isn't a good reasearcher too :D

[ Parent ]
In correct (at least where I am) (none / 0) (#51)
by finkployd on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 02:19:14 PM EST

At the large, land grant university where I work (and once attended), 60% of our general fund comes from tuition. (source: http://www.budget.psu.edu/factbook/Finance/AppropriationVsTuiton&Fees.asp)

If I remember from my days on the strategic planning committee, NONE of our general funds comes from grant money.

Finkployd

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]
They need students.. (4.00 / 1) (#49)
by elpapacito on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 11:53:11 AM EST

Yeah I agree with you , the administration of university
probably didn't consider the potential damage to their "public image" or valued it as less important than some more cash. The only way they can defend "morally" defend their actions is to decrease students' "tuition" costs ; even if they really do that I guess the revenues could only marginally help decreasing tuition costs , but they could help buying more toys for teachers, if you know what I mean ;) .

I also agree with you when you say that any administration that loses students' support is in a dangerous situation ; as dangerous as the will of the students to give them a very bad time instead of simply protesting with words but not with actions.




[ Parent ]
Background on the shutdown.. (4.50 / 2) (#52)
by cloudturtle on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 02:33:02 PM EST

As a student in Houston (U of H) i thnk that the shutdown is a great loss. I'm not exactly the biggest fan of the station, but it is the only real outlet for Houston DJ's and off the wall music. The University of Houston does have a radio station, that plays classical music and is not student run. The students at U of H that want to DJ have been able to go to KTRU in the past and DJ there, now the students at both schools have to suffer.

for those that are intersted there is also a web page up for the station
http://www.savektru.org


Below is a press release that was sent to me by a friend that used to (or still may) work for KTRU.

PRESS RELEASE
At 8:00am CST on Nov. 30, student-controlled programming at KTRU 91.7fm in
Houston was abruptly brought to an end by the administration of Rice
University. This was done in response to a protest by student djs of
increased athletics broadcasting on KTRU. The incident in question was the
broadcasting of music over the second half of Nov. 28th's basketball game.
While not all djs agree with this course of action, it is clear that the
majority believe that Rice athletics has no place on KTRU.

KTRU has been controlled and run by the students of Rice University since
its inception over 30 years ago. However, the consolidation of the radio
market has increasingly left Rice athletics with fewer broadcast options.
Over the past few years, the student management of KTRU has grudgingly
ceded air time to Rice athletics in the hopes of reaching an acceptable
compromise. Unfortunately, in the last few months the athletics department
has proceeded to continue to push for more air time with the backing of the
Rice administration.

KTRU holds an educational license from the FCC, and the students of KTRU
take that concept very seriously, believing we have a role in the education
of the audience as well as ourselves. We play a diverse assortment of
music, focusing on underexposed genres and artists. We fail to see the
educational value of broadcasting mainstream athletic events. In addition,
the proposed increase in athletics programming is essentially being
mandated by the administration of Rice University, with little to no regard
for the traditions or opinions of KTRU.

We are sad to see this occur, but we believe in student control of KTRU.
As one of the last bastions of free radio, we will continue to fight for
what we believe.


Dennis Lee
Operations Manager
Hip-Hop Director
KTRU 91.7fm
hiphop@ktru.org
dlee@rice.edu

For more information on the history of KTRU:
http://www.rice.edu/projects/thresher/issues/88/00.10.27/current/feature/index.html

To express your concern, send comments to:
KTRU 91.7fm
Rice University
6100 S. Main St.
Houston, TX 77005

or

Dr. Zenaido Camacho (Vice president for student affairs)
Rice University, MS-6
6100 S. Main St.
Houston, TX 77005
vpsa@rice.edu

clarification (4.40 / 5) (#54)
by xmatt on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 03:18:12 PM EST

I just wanted to add a couple clarifications to the discussion here. Full disclosure - I'm a Rice alumnus and ex KTRU dj.

-The station equipment and supplies are paid for by a blanket tax paid by all students through the student association, exactly like the Rice newspaper. It is owned by the students.

-The FCC license is in the University's name and the tower is paid for by the University (although the money is made back by renting tower space to cellphone companies etc)

I personally think the University absolutely has the legal right to do whatever they'd like with the station and its programming. What is at issue here is that the University had (and well should have) pledged to a student radio station. The students had no more imagined the administration mandating programming than they would the newspaper being forced to run or censor articles. Indeed when the administration got the 50,000watt tower, they pledged that they would never use that as a pretense to make KTRU a university-run station.

What is important here is that the administration is throwing academic freedom to the wind, breaking promises to students, and effectively destroying a unique and valuable asset of Rice and the Houston area and turning it into a media tool. The students have every right to be upset and if their demands are not met, the University will be forced to deal with the negative image it has already begun bringing upon itself as an academic institution.

matt

A New Thresher.... (3.00 / 1) (#55)
by spoonz on Tue Dec 05, 2000 at 07:05:46 PM EST

The Thresher is the Rice news paper and they have put out a special edition covering all of the KTRU events. Here is a pdf version of it.

Spoonz
Lovett 2000

KTRU shut down by Rice University administration | 57 comments (51 topical, 6 editorial, 0 hidden)
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